updated 04:20 pm EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Effort dependent on getting enough sapphire in time
Apple is "considering" using sapphire screens for more expensive models of the new iPhones it's planning to ship this fall, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The prospect is said to be dependent on whether or not it can get enough sapphire. Numerous earlier reports have gone back and forth about whether Apple will use the material, which is costly in large part because it's in short supply.
The company has partnered with GT Advanced on sapphire production, but has yet to receive the material in bulk from GT's Mesa facility. Some analysts have argued that Apple will therefore limit sapphire to camera lenses and Touch ID sensors, at least until next year. The material could potentially be applied to the iWatch, which as a wearable will need to be tough.
Sapphire is highly desirable for mobile devices since it's thinner than conventional glass but substantially more durable. The material is impossible to scratch in normal scenarios.