Apple and other smartphone makers already try to reduce screen breaks with Corning’s Gorilla Glass. But now it seems Apple’s investment in synthetic sapphire will pay off in time for the launch of the next iPhone and a new smartwatch.

According to The Wall Street Journal’s sources, Apple’s use of sapphire display for the next iPhone and rumored smartwatch could drive up the price of the smartphone. According to Eric Virey, a senior analyst at French research firm Yole Développement, it’ll cost Apple $16 per phone to add a sapphire display. By comparison, the Gorilla Glass screens in today’s iPhones cost an estimated $3 per unit.

Apple already uses synthetic sapphire for its fingerprint reader and to cover the camera lens on the iPhone 5S. According to the WSJ’s report, Apple would use the new sapphire displays in the more-expensive of the two models expected to be announced this fall.

A display that’s less prone to breaking sounds great, but it might cost consumers more money or eat into Apple’s margins. Of course, these figures are from analysts not privy to Apple’s manufacturing cost. So you might want to keep that in mind.

➤ New iPhone: A Sapphire Screen and a Higher Cost [WSJ]