JPMorgan Securities Ltd does not think the initial launch of the iPhone 6, if Apple Inc introduces it this fall, will have sapphire crystal for its main display in any significant volume.
With the limited disclosure about the iPhone 6 by Apple and amid persistent speculation about the new phone’s cover glass adoption, JPMorgan believes the volume will be about 10 million covers this year in either 4.7-inch or a 5.5-inch models, according to the brokerage’s latest industry report, released on Tuesday.
That volume of sapphire cover adoption represents less than 1 percent of the entire smartphone market, JPMorgan said.
“Sapphire covers will also be restricted to high-end iPhones, possibly the 128GB [gigabyte] ones,” the brokerage said in the report.
However, the report, authored by analysts Narci Chang (張恆), J.J. Park and Jay Kwon, expects the adoption to rise severalfold next year.
“We believe this will mark only the beginning of sapphire smartphone cover adoption,” they wrote.
Speculation has arisen recently that sapphire crystal might become an alternative to Corning Inc’s damage-resistant Gorilla glass as smartphone cover material, and analysts say other brands, including HTC Corp (宏達電), Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) and Xiaomi Corp (小米), have shown interest in sapphire covers.
However, US-based Corning has responded by saying that sapphire covers for high-end watches are two or three times thicker than Gorilla glass, and that laboratory strength tests have shown sapphire breaks more easily than Gorilla glass.
JPMorgan said sapphire’s cost is also an issue in view of the low yield rates sapphire manufacturers are facing.
“Due to various challenges related to the new cover material, we believe the production output for sapphire covers will be low,” JPMorgan analysts said. “Sapphire ingot yield rates could be as low as below 50 percent for this size, and finished sapphire smartphone covers may cost as much as US$40 to US$45 versus below US$10 for finished Gorilla glass.”
Based on the brokerage’s recent checks with the sapphire supply chain — including GT Advanced Technologies Inc, headquartered in the US, South Korea’s Sapphire Technology Co (STC) and Procrystal Technology Co (佳晶) of Taiwan, JPMorgan said Apple’s iWatches may not all be equipped with sapphire covers.
Apple Inc’s iPhone 13 debut was met with a stock slump on Tuesday, keeping with a tradition of poor share price performance on the day new devices are unveiled. Shares of the technology giant sank after Apple executives, including chief executive officer Tim Cook, presented the new lineup of phones and other devices. The stock fell 1 percent to close at US$148.12 in New York trading. Prior to Tuesday, Apple’s shares fell on three-quarters of the days Apple unveiled new iPhones, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. Excluding Apple’s 8.3 percent rally on the day cofounder Steve Jobs announced the first iPhone in
BEATING SCHEDULE: Government plans are for nacelle assemblies to be totally local from next year, but Orsted Taiwan said that it was going ‘above and beyond’ Wind turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA yesterday inaugurated Taiwan’s first nacelle assembly plant at the Port of Taichung, its first assembly facility for offshore nacelles outside Europe. Vice Premier Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津), a long-time champion of Taiwan’s ambitions to become a regional hub in the offshore wind farm industry, described the plant as a “milestone” at a ceremony at the plant. “The completion of Siemens Gamesa’s nacelle assembly plant is a milestone for the development of the offshore wind farm industry in Taiwan and a step toward localizing the supply chain,” Shen said. “This is only the beginning. My great hope
ROBUST DEMAND: 5G, AI and Internet of Things technologies are driving growth and employment, as the company plans a new plant in Hsinchu County Contract electronics manufacturer Wistron Corp (緯創) plans to invest about NT$11.1 billion (US$400.58 million) in Taiwan, in line with its global deployment strategy, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Friday. The company’s investment is also a demonstration of robust demand for 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things applications, the ministry said in a statement. Wistron, spun off from Acer Inc (宏碁) in 2001, is a notebook computer original design manufacturing partner to major PC brands. The company, which is based in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖), also produces servers, data storage devices, game consoles and communications products for brand clients
POEMA TIE-UP? A merger would value the combined company at US$1 billion or more, with an announcement possible as soon as this week, the unnamed sources said Gogoro Inc (睿能創意), a Taiwanese manufacturer of electric scooters that specializes in battery-swapping technology, is in talks to go public through a merger with Poema Global Holdings Corp, a blank-check firm, people with knowledge of the matter said. The deal is set to value the combined company at US$1 billion or more, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. An announcement could come as soon as this week, they said. Terms might change and, as with any deal that is not finalized, it is possible that talks could fall through, they said. A representative for Gogoro said that