Cook confirms Apple interest in sapphire, won't divulge use in iPhone 6 or iWatch

Sapphire iPhone parts
Sapphire iPhone, anyone?

While Apple's focus may be on the Macintosh today, a few remarks from the company's CEO revealed Cupertino's seeming obsession with sapphire.

ABC News posted a brief snippet of an interview airing later Friday with Apple's Tim Cook, Craig Federighi and Bud Tribble, and while Cook did his best to stay tight-lipped, one tidbit slipped out.

Speaking about the company's US-based manufacturing ambitions, Cook acknowledged an investment in an Arizona plant tinkering with sapphire crystal glass.

He managed to dodge questions about when the glass might roll off the assembly line and whether it's destined for a big-screen iPhone 6 or iWatch, but this is the first time we have it from the CEO himself that Apple is putting its money where the sapphire is.

Revenge of iRing?

Cupertino appears well on its way to a sapphire future after dipping its toes in the water with the camera lens cover on the iPhone 5 and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor for last year's iPhone 5S.

According to Patently Apple, Taiwanese partner Foxconn recently began testing assembly of "sapphire substrate display covers" for an unspecified iPhone, successfully packaging as many as 100 such devices so far - but it's unclear how those efforts fit into Apple's big picture.

ABC reporter David Muir attempted to connect the dots between sapphire glass, iPhone 6 and even the Apple Watch during the interview with Cook, who deflected each query with his usual Southern charm.

"It's for a ring," the CEO quipped, apparently in reference to the rumored "iRing" device that became the butt of many jokes early last year in conjunction with Apple's rumored iTV television set.

  • Check out our full review of Apple's latest iPhone 5S!