Apple pioneered glass displays, fingerprint sensors, and 64-bit processors. What's next for Apple? The answer could be found in sapphire.
Apple is poised to unveil its next-generation iPhone next month. Apart from the rumored 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screen sizes, Apple will reportedly use synthetic sapphire on the upcoming models, reports the Wall Street Journal.
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Sources told the Journal that Apple has invested a whopping $700 million to mass-produce the expensive material, which is stronger than glass and can withstand high temperatures. Apple is working with GT Advanced Technologies to kick off production this month at a facility in Arizona, the Wall Street Journal added.
It's worth noting that Apple is already using sapphire on the lens of iPhone's camera. Recently, the company also used the material on the iPhone 5S's fingerprint reader. Analyst Eric Virey estimates that it would cost roughly $16 to manufacture synthetic sapphire - a high price compared to Corning's $3 Gorilla Glass.
The Wall Street Journal adds that Apple is going to use the material on its expensive models. While the bold move will separate Apple from its competitors, it will have to face another problem: higher costs. Investing $700 million is gargantuan, but PTT Research analyst Matt Margolis says that Apple is willing to "take the hit." Apple declined to comment on the report.
Source: Wall Street Journal