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IHS: Electronics fueling rising sapphire substrate demand

Thanks to the growing use of sapphire substrates in electronics hardware, IHS expects the consumption of 2" sapphire ingots (used to make substrates) will grow 70% this year to 54km. In 2016 (harder to forecast), IHS sees annual demand totaling 84km.

Apple's use of a sapphire lens cover in the iPhone's rear camera, and (more recently) sapphire glass for the iPhone 5S' home button., has led to broader interest in the material from electronics OEMs. LG recently launched the G2, which also has a sapphire camera lens cover.

It might only be a matter of time before a phone featuring sapphire display cover glass is launched, but sapphire's cost disadvantage relative to mainstream options such as Corning's Gorilla Glass 3 remains an issue. Hit-and-miss Digitimes recently reported Apple is thinking of using sapphire display cover glass in a 2014 iPhone.

Furnace maker GT Advanced (GTAT) and wafer vendor Rubicon (RBCN) benefit from rising sapphire demand. Both companies have been hit hard by LED industry oversupply.

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