Apple’s iWatch May Debut With Sapphire Display; Not So for iPhone 6

Source: iWatch Concept by Todd Hamilton

Rumors have surfaced that Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) sapphire display will make its debut in its long-awaited iWatch, ahead of the iPhone 6, according to a report from AppleInsider.

Apparently, Apple is currently testing beta iPhone units that sport sapphire displays, but has run into difficulties integrating the sapphire layer without dramatically increasing the cost of the device. In contrast, the iWatch’s comparatively tiny, 2-inch display makes the cost of the sapphire layer much more manageable; the iWatch will likely debut with a sapphire display much like other high-end wristwatches.

Initial rumors of the new sapphire displays cropped up on a volley of Chinese tech websites, which cite “Taiwan supply chain insiders,” and Taiwanese media reported last month that Apple’s primary manufacturer, Foxconn, had finished assembling prototype versions of the new iPhone with a sapphire display, but that the iPhone 6 would not likely be debuting with the new screens, per GForGames.

But even if the iPhone 6 doesn’t debut with the protective sapphire display, it appears that the new screens are not far off. It was noted Monday that Apple’s new sapphire manufacturing plant in Mesa, Arizona is due to be up and running by the end of the month and ”when it’s operating at full capacity, this plant is going to be producing as much as two times the current worldwide capacity,” one analyst noted, according to a report from Bloomberg. That’s as many as 200 million per year, according to another source.

The as-yet-unannounced iWatch is suspected to release ahead of the iPhone 6 sometime in the second half of 2014. Recent news reports have also indicated that it may not be as advanced as many people have speculated; the device won’t be able to operate independently, for instance, requiring interaction with the user’s iPhone. Previously, it was thought that Apple’s incarnation of the smart watch might be closer to a “wrist-worn smartphone.”

Regardless of how advanced (or not) the iWatch is, it seems it will be a step-ahead of the iPhone in at least one respect: it’s likely to debut with the much sought-after and supposed nigh-indestructible sapphire display.

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