Sapphire substrates have been around for a very long time. First chemically synthesized by French chemist Auguste Verneuil in 1909, sapphire has developed from fake jewelry in 1940s, SOS applications in 1960s, to military applications in late 1960s, according to a paper by Daniel Harris, Naval Air Systems Command, China Lake, California. U.S. and Russian manufacturers dominated military application fields before Asian manufacturers found their golden opportunity in LED applications. LED will continue to dominate sapphire substrate applications, taking a healthy market share close to 80 percent. But recent developments spurred by Apple, has created a new emerging field for sapphire substrate applications: the smartphone industry.
As all things with Apple, the consumer electronics giant rocked the sapphire substrate industry’s boat when it decided to introduce the material into iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s home buttons and camera caps. Those in the industry speculate that the Apple effect might urge other smartphone makers to follow suit, and will encouraged sapphire substrate manufacturers to go after potential market share. What is certain is the smartphone sapphire substrate application market will continue to increase in the future. Other non-LED application markets will remain relatively niche markets unaffected by current trends:
However, in the short run LED will still dominate sapphire substrate applications taking nearly 80 percent market share in 2013. As a result, developments in the LED industry will still have huge impacts on the sapphire substrate market. Currently it appears sapphire substrate has solidified its hold in the LED market, with few emerging technologies that are cost effictive enough to replace it:
LEDinside analysts, however, remind the public to keep a conservative outlook on sapphire substrate prices. It is still too early to judge whether smartphone demands will create sapphire substrate shortages for certain. Analysts, however, upheld a positive price outlook for 2013. Please click link below for further details.