Over the past few years, Apple has been using the word sapphire a lot. With the introduction to the iPhone 4, Apple stated that they created a custom glass that’s strength is comparable to sapphire crystal, the iPhone 5 brought a sapphire cover glass for the front-facing HD camera, and with the iPhone 5s, Apple introduced the TouchID, also with a sapphire cover glass. Now, reports are coming out that GT Advanced, the company that partnered with Apple to create a large sapphire plant in Mesa Arizona, has made a large amount of purchases so that they might ramp up production on the special glass.
Potentially, sapphire glass could make gorilla glass a thing of the past. Analyst Matt Margolis reports that with the 518 sapphire furnace and chambers GT Advanced could produce close to 103 or 116 million displays per year. An additional 84 to 94 could be possible if you take the extra 420 machines the company has on order into account.
This one plant alone has the ability to produce 100-200 million 5-inch displays for Apple’s iPhone. Is that enough for the company? Well, in 2013 Apple sold around 150 million iPhones. A patent placed by Apple just after their partnership with GT Advanced was announced, shows Apple’s interest in sapphire display cover glass.
The aperture formed in the substrate may have one or more securing features to help hold the second material within the aperture. For example, the aperture may have one or more tapered sidewalls. Alternatively, or additionally, the aperture may have a notch or step in one or more sidewalls. In still other embodiments, an interior surface of the aperture may be threaded or include a lip or protrusion that serves as a securing feature. It should be appreciated that other securing features may be implemented and, further, that multiple securing features may be used in conjunction.
Sapphire is the second hardest material next to diamond. Since, it’s so hard to break and scratch, there is no reason as to why Apple wouldn’t want it on their phones, and a potential iWatch.