iPhone 6 Concept Image by Lewi Hussey
iPhone 6 Concept Image by Lewi HusseyLewi Hussey via ConceptsiPhone

Speculations on the release date and pricing of Apple's next-generation smartphone iPhone 6 have been doing the rounds for a quite a while now, despite the Cupertino giant keeping mum on the product. Now, reports have emerged that the use of sapphire crystal glass in the device could increase its cost of production, affecting its price.

It has been reported that iPhone 6 will have a screen entirely made from the scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass. The material is almost unbreakable and second only to diamond in hardness but it could shoot up the cost of production.

"The arrival of sapphire means a dramatic increase in the cost of making an iPhone, as sapphire is far more expensive than the present Gorilla Glass, but it remains unknown whether the price of a single iPhone will go up," said a report by South China Morning Post.

iPhone 5S featured sapphire crystal in the Home button and also its iSight camera was protected by the same glass. However, its successor is expected to have its entire front screen made of the unbreakable material.

iPhone 5S was priced at $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB, with a two-year contract. In India, it was priced at ₹53,500 for 16GB and ₹71,500 for 64GB (without contract).

Considering the pricing of Apple's earlier products, the price of iPhone 6 might increase considerably for the simple reasons that it will have sapphire crystal glass and several upgraded features.

The Cupertino giant is expected to release its new spartphone either in June or September.

South Korea's brokerage KDB Daewoo Securities, Chinese Analyst Sun Changxu and Jefferies analyst Peter Misek have all stated that Apple would release its much-awaited device at the WWDC event in June. However, several media houses, including South China Morning Post, Tech Radar and ET News reported that the new smartphone would be launched only in September.

Apple's flagship smartphone is expected to sport a 4.7/4.8 or 5.5' display with a 1920x1080p (440ppi), or a 2272×1280 (510ppi), according to a note to investors by South Korea's brokerage KDB Daewoo Securities. It is expected to be powered by A8 chip (64-bit), run on iOS 7.2 and have 1,800mAh battery.