Whether major smartphone vendors follow Apple to adopt sapphire-screen covers will hinge on cost, and US$30 for a 5.5-inch sapphire-cover will be a competitive price in 2015, according to Digitimes Research.
US-based GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) will supply sapphire for making screen covers for the new iPhone, Digitimes Research indicated. Based on GTAT's about 2,500 crystal-growing furnaces and mature crystal-growing process (for example, a 115kg sapphire ingot and linear slicing), GTAT can produce enough sapphire to make 45 million 5.5-inch covers in 2015.
South Korea-, China- and Taiwan-based smartphone vendors have begun testing sapphire screen covers, Digitimes Research noted. However, the price of sapphire ingots and wafers in 2015 will not drop significantly on year.