US-based GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT), the exclusive sapphire supplier for Apple, is estimated to supply enough sapphire to make covers for up to 1.35-2.25 million 5.5-inch iPhones by the end of 2014 based on the progress of GTAT's sapphire production ramp, according to Digitimes Research.
GTAT started sapphire production in August 2014 and expects revenue contributions from sapphire to begin in the fourth quarter, and Apple's fourth down payment is due in October 2014, these conditions signal that GTAT's sapphire production will not reach a large scale by the end of 2014, Digitimes Research indicated. However, GTAT is likely to ship sapphire at a large volume beginning the first quarter of 2015.
In addition to production volume, cost for a 5.5-inch screen cover made from sapphire is estimated at US$100, much higher than US$5-10 for that made from reinforced glass, Digitimes Research noted.
This article is an excerpt from a Digitimes Research Special Report (Demand and supply trends in the global sapphire industry, 2014-2015). Visit our latest Special reports.