At the end of Apple’s September 9th keynote, there was a thick sense of disappointment in the air due to the lack of a Sapphire Display in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. But reports now indicate that an anxious and impatient Apple decided to release the iPhone without Sapphire Displays because it would have pushed back the Apple release by a few weeks, in fact, just about a month.
Matt Margolis’s report indicates that GT Advanced knew that they would not manufacture sapphire display edges quite yet by a August 5th conference call, and that their yield was at around 25% or less. At that point executives made the decision and started mass-producing Gorilla Glass screens which were being produced in small quantities already incase of a technical problem such as this.
I believe GT and Apple still have very big plans for sapphire as a cover screen on mobile devices. Apple may pay continue to pay GT for sapphire bricks that they ship even though the iPhone is not covered up by a sapphire cover screen. Another option thrown on the table is that Apple could even push back the Apple prepayment requirements until the finishing yields are addressed. One item that remains clear is that GT will continue to push out as much sapphire as humanly possible from Mesa.
As a result of the lack of a sapphire display, GT Advanced’s stock (GTA) plummeted after the announcement of the iPhone6 and 6 Plus. In fact, you can actually see just where rumors started breaking about the lack of sapphire glass on the iPhone 6 started.
The biggest point of contention is the Apple needs to produce the displays in the tens of millions, and while they probably could have got some Sapphire iPhone 6/Pluses out, it wouldn’t nearly be enough for the scale Apple is at these days. It’s now something saved for the iPhone 6S.