Apple’s massive sapphire plant for ‘iWatch,’ not next-gen iPhone, sources say

“According to Chinese media sources (which are citing ‘Taiwan supply chain insiders’), Apple has put a lot of effort into fitting the next iPhone with a sapphire screen,” Mihai Matei reports for G 4 Games. “These sources claim that ‘beta’ iPhone units (read: some of the prototypes Apple is currently testing) are already sporting sapphire protected panels, but unfortunately, chances are that they will not make it on the final product.”

“The problem is not necessarily due to low yield (which still is a problem, at least until Apple’s Arizona plant will be fully operational), but mainly because fitting a sapphire screen on the next iPhone would make its price skyrocket,” Matei reports. “Fortunately though, the same sources also say that Apple will manage to fit sapphire screens on the rumored iWatch. The smartwatch is said to feature a 2 inch panel, and evidently, the production costs would be much lower.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz,” “Sarah,” and Dan K.” for the heads up.]

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  1. Or both. Sheesh. They do have a patent to layer sapphire on glass, which though more expensive than straight glass would easily be do-able without destroying margins.

    But yeah, sapphire made its name in wristwatches where watch faces have been banging into walls, car doors and everything else for centuries. The ONLY thing that would make sense on a wrist or hand device would be sapphire. And liquid metal.

  2. The first product from the plant may be the iWatch, but there’s nothing to say it can’t also produce sapphire glass for the iPhone, iPad, or other products down the road.

  3. A 2 inch panel. Come on everyone knows that’s way too small, the new panel needs to be way larger than that in anticipation of those that are going to be copying Apple but making 3 inch panels. This is going to make the stock tank for sure.

    Disclaimer: As there are so many humorless terrorist, uh Americans on this site it is pointed out that the above post is humorous while the disclaimer isn’t.

  4. More useless speculation. Synthetic sapphire has so many useful applications that Apple should make a fortune from supplying sapphire to other companies for use even if its mythical iWatch doesn’t become a huge success. Apart from an Apple logo I can’t even imagine what will be so different about Apple’s smart watch from the dozens of other smart watches already available. The hype is strong in this one and is only setting Apple up for a big miss in expectations. I can already hear the list of complaints of what Apple failed to achieve to make a REALLY GREAT smart watch.

    1. Apple’s not going to introduce a watch to compete, they’re going to change the way people look at watches! Pun intended.

      You have absolutely no historical perspective of Apple and you come across as just another Zune Tang wannabe. You won’t surpass his wit in my lifetime. Ballmer’s Left Nut is the low bar, ankle high, and gives you something to shoot for.

      Besides you smell of rotten fruit; Road Apples.

      1. I put my money where David Gardner does. He predicts it will be a wrap around screen (possibly solar charging since this makes sense as it would be plenty outside when used as a fitness band) with a motion sensing processor from a company that released their own motion sensing fitness band for CES14.

        Its all documented on the Motley Fool. If you are an investor like I am, then you will want to dump your 401K into this company. It would be like buying APPL in 2001. I am trying to move 20K into it myself, but I have never played with overseas market options before.

  5. Last report was that the plant has capacity to produce 200 million units worth off iphone screen glass.
    That is an awful lot of extra capacity if it is only intended for iwatch !

    1. That’s running at capacity; this is a new facility, and will take time to get QC up to acceptable levels, and ramp up production of sapphire/glass of a size suitable for phone screens to the quantities needed for iPhone/Touch production.

  6. This is total BS. Current cost estimates for sapphire for the iPhone are on the order of $30. Even given that number, the cost of an iPhone would hardly “skyrocket.” What ridiculous hyperbole!

    In addition, the economy of scale provided by Apple’s new plant will triple total world output of synthetic sapphire compared to last year. The additional cost per device will likely drop significantly, perhaps to around $10 to $15 per display…and people will gladly pay it.

    This is not a credible source or a credible conclusion given the amount of sapphire output that Apple is planning for 2014.

    1. It also makes no sense in that there a millions of watches made with sapphire crystals. . . and lots of companies with experience in making small screen size sapphires that could supply anything Apple would need for a watch sized device. They would NOT need their own plant to supply 2″ sapphire blanks for an iWatch. There would be dozens of companies willing to bid for that contract. However, a sapphire 4″ to 6″ diagonal flat screen is something that WOULD require specialized machinery to grow, cut, and polish.

  7. iWatch or iPhone with sapphire glass it matters not which one, only that you have bought as much GTAT as possible before the first earnings call after they pay APPL back that half billion for that Arizona plant and preferable before APPL announces the product publicly.

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