According to Taiwan-based sapphire makers, Apple is expected to extend the use of sapphire glass home button to its new 9.7-inch iPad and 7.9-inch iPad mini to be launched in October, and possibly further adopt sapphire for making touch screen covers for its new iPhone to be launched in 2014.
The DigiTimes report further states that "Apple first adopted sapphire to make covers of iPhone 5 cameras and now the material is also used in making covers of iPhone 5S finger print-recognizing home button, the sources noted. Apple in March 2013 filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office an application concerning high-temperature lamination of sapphire layers, the sources noted." That was in reference to our report last week titled "Apple Invents a Fusion Process that Will Add a Sapphire Laminate Layer to iPhone, iPad & Future iWatch Cover Glass."
The DigiTimes report concludes that the one drawback to using sapphire as a cover glass is the cost of sapphire ingots. For example, costs for iDevice cover glass could rise as much as five times over current materials; A similar point that we first covered back in our March report titled "Apple may Shift to Sapphire Crystal Glass for Future iDevices." However, Apple is known for using better materials in constructing their iDevices such as the new sapphire glass Home button if the cost brings value to the end product.
Are the Taiwanese Sapphire makers hoping this will happen or is their wind of this in the supply chain? When you think of a design like this Apple concept, then using sapphire glass would only make sense. Yet for now it's a rumor and time will tell how this all plays out.
Apple Sapphire News Update November 11, 2013: Why Apple Bought $578M Worth Of Sapphire In Advance (Nov. 8, 2013 - TechCrunch)