It could be taken as a sign that the rumored iWatch is inching closer to reality, or that future iPhones (and iPads) will have a sapphire display. Either way, the use of sapphire crystals for watch faces has been around for a long time and is very useful. I personally hope that it makes its way to tablets and phones, possibly eliminating the need for screen protection film.

Why Apple Bought $578M Worth Of Sapphire In Advance

“First, this material must be extremely strategic, says Creative Strategies Analyst and Techpinions columnist Ben Bajarin. “It is necessary for Touch ID because it is extremely scratch-resistant. If a scratch got on your thumb scanner it wouldn’t work. So then the question becomes what else may they want or need to use a scratch resistant screen for. This is where the wearables idea or watch comes in.”

There has been a lot of chatter about Apple and wearables, and it is indeed working on something in that arena. Apple’s M7 motion coprocessor likely has something to do with it, and there are some indications that it’s being worked on by both Bob Mansfield and ex-Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch.

Watches, a popular wrist-mounted wearable you may have heard of, often use sapphire for their face covers because of their durability. They simply get knocked around more than phones do.