Before the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were unveiled in September there were countless rumors pointing towards the possibility that Apple’s next generation smartphones will have sapphire displays. That didn’t happen though. A detailed report has been published which reveals that this was due to no fault of Apple. Instead the supplier that it had tapped for providing sapphire for the displays wasn’t quite up to the task.
Even though Apple’s mobile devices don’t have sapphire displays right now the company still users one fourth of the world’s sapphire supply only because this material is used for camera lens covers and Touch ID fingerprint sensors. For displays Apple would have needed significantly more.
GT Advanced Technologies was the supplier that was tasked with providing Apple with sapphire for displays. The Wall Street Journal reports that GT wasn’t ready to handle Apple’s demands, and that its first sapphire block weighing 265 kg was made merely days before deal with signed with Apple. That sapphire block was flawed and was not usable.
GT Advanced Technologies had reportedly never mass produced sapphire before which is why it was having all of those problems. In order to cater to Apple’s demands the company hired new staff but management wasn’t able to keep them in line. Workers were slacking off and according to reports, the company was paying people overtime just to sweep the floors. Some employees even sent sapphire bricks, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, to recycle when they were meant to go to shipping. This might explain why GT Advanced Technologies has filed for bankruptcy.
It might have been this incompetence on part of Apple’s supplier that led to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus not having sapphire displays. Perhaps we will have to wait until the next generation iPhones, hopefully the next supplier will be able to fully meet Cupertino’s demands.