There’s been another development in the continuing rumours churning about the iPhone 6 utilising a sapphire crystal display, with the latest speculation indicating that Apple has now procured the means to produce anything between 100 million to 200 million handsets sporting the super-tough screens.
This stems back to documents examined by 9 to 5 Mac, which show that GT Advanced – which has struck a manufacturing facility deal with Apple – is all set to produce sapphire displays.
GT Advanced will develop “a series of automated sapphire inspection tools that will increase the yield of high quality sapphire material from each boule and ensure that only high quality material enters the value stream.” These tools are for use with high-grade sapphire components – i.e. full displays, as opposed to the bits used with the camera or fingerprint sensor on the iPhone.
While those tools aren’t necessarily Apple related, 9 to 5 Mac points to an SEC filing which shows that Cupertino is in an exclusive partnership with GT Advanced when it comes to “Consumer Electronics Products,” with the website concluding that it’s therefore unlikely that the latter’s sapphire display plans are being undertaken for any other company but Apple.
It’s certainly some impressive detective work, and GT Advanced has also ordered sapphire furnaces – indeed some 518 machines have already been received, with a further 420 to come.
All this points to GT Advanced preparing to ramp up the production of sapphire crystal displays, potentially to supply Apple with iPhone 6 screens for the big launch later this year. GT Advanced’s initial 518 sapphire furnaces could reportedly produce just over 100 million displays of around a 5in size every year – with the equipment still to come potentially almost doubling that up.
This of course assumes that Apple is going to up the size of its iPhone display from the current 4.5in, as other recent reports have indicated.
Sapphire glass should ensure that the next iPhone is more scratch-resistant as well as much less prone to shattering when dropped, a major boon considering how many cracked iPhone screens we’ve heard about in the past.
With folks looking for major advances from the next iPhone, a bigger, far tougher screen could certainly be a selling point.
For more info on the tough sapphire stuff, see: Smartphones could use sapphire glass in the near future.
Image Credit: Flickr (launceston_lad)