Apple Considering Sapphire Screens Only in ‘More-Expensive’ iPhone 6 Models: WSJ

The Wall Street Journal is reporting sources say sapphire glass in the next iPhone 6 models may only emerge in more expensive versions of the two larger models:

Apple is considering using sapphire screens in more-expensive models of the two new, larger iPhones it plans to debut this fall, if it can get enough of the material, people familiar with the matter say.

As Apple’s investment in sapphire costs more than using Gorilla Glass, some analysts suspect new models may come with an increased price tag, since producing sapphire is costly and complex.

Apple is working with GT Advanced Technologies to manufacture synthetic sapphire glass at factories in Mesa, Arizona. By producing larger synthetic sapphire cylinders than average manufacturers, Apple looks to lower costs through economies of scale.

Sapphire is denser than glass which could add more weight to the next iPhone. Sapphire is currently being used for the iPhone 5s camera lens and also Touch ID fingerprint reader.

Back in June, Taiwanese media claimed sapphire glass would be limited to 5.5-inch iPhone 6 models, while later on an analyst said both iPhone 6 models would feature sapphire, but not all model configurations, echoing this WSJ report.

Similar reports came out last month, with JP Morgan saying sapphire will be restricted to higher end models due to limited supply. However, PTT Research analyst Matt Margolis told he believes GT Advanced can supply upwards of 60 million sapphire screens in 2014, thanks in part to the 2,600 of 3,000 furnaces installed at the company’s Arizona plant.

For those looking to get the iPhone 6, most will probably opt for the model with the latest features, which would include durable sapphire glass. If not all versions are able to sport sapphire, it just creates even more pent up demand for the next iPhone 6 launch.

If sapphire only emerges on the pricier versions of the two larger iPhone 6 models, will you pay extra for it, or just get models with ‘regular’ glass?

Apple is expected to announce its iPhone 6 next month on September 9.