Rumors about the iPhone 6 and the iWatch continue to swirl, and this time, some are suggesting that the devices could feature the new sapphire glass material that will be produced at GT Advanced Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:GTAT). The company announced a $578 million deal with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), which is investing in its facility with the goal of cutting the cost of sapphire material production.
Apple currently uses sapphire to protect the camera on its iPhones and for the TouchID home button on its iPhone 5S. Some speculated that the iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina display would feature the new TouchID fingerprint sensor, although CNET’s Nick Hide suggests a lack of supply may have kept the feature off of the tablets. Of course supply should no longer be an issue after GT Advanced Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:GTAT)’s new production facility is up and running.
Hide reports that sapphire is being used more and more as a material in prototype handsets, particularly high end ones. By practically guaranteeing that it will have access to a lot of sapphire, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is indicating that it could push toward using the material a lot more often, possibly in the iPhone 6. However, if the iPhone 6 comes out early next year, that may be too quick for Apple to use the new glass in it.
Apple’s new devices could feature sapphire
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian J. White speculates that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s rumored iWatch could also be a candidate for the new sapphire material. The material is stronger and also scratch-proof, so it could be a replacement for Gorilla Glass, which is made by Corning. White doesn’t think it will completely replace Gorilla Glass, however, because it has some shortcomings.
Another possible device he believes could receive the sapphire material is “an ultra-high-end iPhone” (as if we need an even more expensive one!). He points to the high price of the material as being the reason why it would be reserved for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s more expensive devices. Of course just how much Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will use GT’s sapphire material will depend on how low the company is able to get the price of the material using the new facility.