By now, it’s common knowledge that the next iPhone is rumored to come in two sizes — 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches — and sport superstrong displays made of sapphire glass. A new leak indicates that the larger iPhone 6 might see limited production due to the cost of high-quality sapphire.
According to a post on Weibo (China’s Twitter equivalent) by Mobile China Alliance, only ten million units of the 5.5-inch variant of the rumored iPhone 6 will be produced globally. Quoting supply chain sources, the post also notes that the 4.7-inch version will hit the market in October.
The report also says that the sapphire display may make it more expensive for Apple to build each handset. Instead of the estimated $44 it cost to build the iPhone 5s’ 4-inch Retina display, the iPhone 6 might cost $280 in materials. This could lead to the device retailing at $1,285 (or 8,000 yuan) in China, up from the current $850 (5,288 yuan) price tag, according to MacRumors. That falls in line with previous rumors that Apple will charge more for its upcoming handsets.
The larger handset appears to have been plagued with production problems. Previous reports speculated that battery issues might cause a delay in production of the phablet-sized iPhone 6, which some suppliers are calling the “iPhone Air.”
Thanks to these troubles, we may not see a 5.5-inch iPhone until 2015, but we look forward to what Apple will reveal this September, when the iPhone 6 is expected to be announced.