iPhone 6 concept (ConceptsPhone 001)

According to a new report by the South China Morning Post, Apple is reportedly gearing up to launch two new iPhones with bigger screens sporting sapphire crystal protection. The handsets are reportedly scheduled to launch in September 2014.

In corroborating previous rumors by Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal, sources claim the upcoming iPhones have 4.7 and 5.5-inch screens coated in sapphire, the expensive gemstone Apple uses to protect its Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5s and iSight camera lenses on iOS devices. And, the screens will be flat, not curved…

The South China Morning Post writes, citing industry insiders who have supposedly “seen the prototypes,” that the larger displays will be sharper than the current four-inch Retina display on the iPhone 5/5s/5c.

Specifically, the 4.7 and 5.5-inch screens are said to have a pixel density of 441 pixels per inch, the same as Samsung’s Galaxy S4. By comparison, the current iPhone Retina display has a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch.

Increasing the sharpness of the display by squeezing in more pixels wouldn’t just improve clarity, it would add more pixel data for your content and apps to work with, in turn requiring developers to update existing applications for new resolutions.

“The design ‘freeze’ for the iPhone 6 – after which no changes will be made – is set for April this year,” the article reads.

As for sapphire protection, the new iPhone screen will be “made entirely from scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass”, the sources said.

The story goes on to caution that using the expensive sapphire crystal, second to diamond as the hardest material, means a dramatic increase” in the cost of making an iPhone.

GT Advanced (sapphire slabs, Pocketnow 001)

Notably, Apple’s invested more than $500 million in tooling, equipment and sophisticated furnaces to produce sapphire laminates at its new plant in Mesa, Arizona.

Also, two insiders told the publication that the iPhone 5c “will be gone” come this September, while the iPhone 5s will “stay but be made from cheaper material”. In other words, Apple will replace the current iPhone 5c with the iPhone 5s wrapped in a plastic case, which sounds about right to me.