- In light of the iPhone 5S' inclusion of a sapphire home button (with an embedded fingerprint sensor), Canaccord predicts sapphire prices will rise further, something that stands to benefit equipment supplier GT Advanced (GTAT +8.2%) and wafer maker Rubicon (RBCN +5.3%).
- Meanwhile, Digitimes reports the upcoming 5th-gen iPad and retina iPad Mini will also have sapphire home buttons (not surprising), and (more intriguingly) states Apple will "possibly" use a sapphire touch screen in a 2014 iPhone (presumably the iPhone 6).
- Digitimes, which has been hit-and-miss with product feature rumors, notes Apple recently submitted a patent filing for sapphire layer lamination. However, it also observes the cost of sapphire cover glass remains up to 5x that of existing solutions, such as Corning's (GLW +1.9%) Gorilla Glass.
- GT Advanced has been promising the development of sapphire furnaces able to make larger crystals will narrow the pricing gap between sapphire and Gorilla Glass.
- Sapphire glass is thinner and reportedly 3x stronger/scratch-resistant than Gorilla Glass. However, Corning has been improving the scratch-resistance of the latter, and has criticized sapphire's weight and optical qualities.
GT Advanced, Rubicon rally on Canaccord note, iPhone 6 rumor
Sep 18 2013, 11:10 ET