According to a new report from LEDinside, a research subdivision of market-research organisation TrendForce, Apple is reportedly having difficulty producing sufficient sapphire cover for their next generation iPhone as a result of yield rates being lower than forecasts and issues involved in sapphire glass processing.
According to the report:
[su_quote]The sapphire material is still being applied in new generation Apple smartphones camera lenses and fingerprint recognition readers. If the iPhone 6 keeps up Apple’s previous smartphone models hot selling record, sapphire demands will be driven by the smartphone’s applications till the end of this year. However, the much anticipated sapphire cover glass remains missing from the picture. Analysis of the iPhone 6 supply chain indicates related component suppliers have to start shipping products to OEMs for assembly in June 2014 to meet the September launch date. Yet, the research institute did not discover demands for smartphone cover glass. The sapphire glass version iPhone 6 will be issued in limited volumes this year, mostly because sapphire ingot manufacturers yield rates were lower than forecasts and issues involved in sapphire glass processing. [/su_quote]
The report also highlighted that Apple make also have problem sourcing sapphire displays for their rumored iWatch if they decide to go with a 2.5-inch display sapphire cover glass.
From the report:
[su_quote]…further observations will be required to determine whether Apple’s final iWatch will incorporate sapphire glass cover, said a LEDinside analyst, who declined to be identified. Since sapphire glass processing is relatively difficult, it would be problematic to mass produce sapphire watch cover glass if the is 2.5 D. Additionally, sapphire glass processing will become even more strenuous if the wearable device uses OLED panels.
Recent leaks of the iPhone 6 display cover indicate that Apple may be using a sapphire laminate instead of pure sapphire to produce the iPhone 6 cover glass.