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Virtually unbreakable sapphire displays are expected to appear on one or both new iPhone 6 models, but a JP Morgan report says we’ll have to wait until at least 2015 first.

Apple is already a big user of sapphire in its iPhone products, with the camera lens protected by a final sapphire layer, and sapphire on the home buttons for the Touch ID sensor on the iPhone 5S. 
Now comes news via AppleInsider of JP Morgan analyst Rod Hall suggesting that sapphire’s extremely high and even ‘prohibitive’ cost when creating large screens – 10 times higher than Corning’s Gorilla Glass – means very limited quantities of sapphire screened iPhones for Apple’s own purposes and no sapphire screens for the general public until 2015 at the earliest. 
CNET was able to get a copy of Rod Hall’s report, and quoted his analyst note stating that: “At the end of the day we see two possibilities for the iPhone 6 — either Apple produces a small number of high end devices with sapphire or they produce none.
“Although we have channel indications that some sapphire devices will be produced, we actually lean toward Apple selling no sapphire phones this year. On sapphire as a feature — we see it as a huge phone seller. 
“The screens are reportedly un-scratchable (except by diamond) and virtually indestructible. We believe most people will want sapphire when and if it ever becomes available,” which ends the quote. 
If Apple doesn’t release sapphire screens, there’s sure to be disappointment, especially after leaks of images and video showing a very sharp knife having no effect on a sapphire display whatsoever.  
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The last white glass piece “exploding” from the button is the current piece of sapphire protecting the iPhone 5s Touch ID button.

However, whether sapphire screens appear this year or not, Apple will is expected to continue using the much smaller amounts of sapphire for its lens protector and Touch ID buttons on iPhones and iPads. 

Mr Hall isn’t the only one doubting that sapphire screens truly will arrive this year, with DigitalTrends.com quoting the maker of Gorilla Glass, Corning, and one of its Senior VPs, Tony Tripeny saying in March this year that: “When we look at it, we see a lot of disadvantages of sapphire versus Gorilla Glass. 
“It’s about 10 times more expensive. It’s about 1.6 times heavier. It’s environmentally unfriendly. It takes about 100 times more energy to generate a Sapphire crystal than it does glass. 
“It transmits less light which. . . means either dimmer devices or shorter battery life. It continues to break. I think while it’s a scratch resistant product it still breaks. . .”.
Apple does have a patent for sapphire layering technologies, something its partner GT Advanced Technologies also has separately through the acquisition of ‘Twin Creeks’, a company which AppleInsider says has a ‘wafering process’ for sapphire called ‘Hyperion’. 
Both techniques are said to dramatically reduce manufacturing costs, but neither is said to be ready for mass production. 
So, we’ll just have to wait until September 9 in the US (Sept 10 for Australians) to see whether Apple can pull a sapphire rabbit out of the hat, or whether a virtually unscratchable future is still to come. 

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