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Apple ties up long-term supply of sapphires

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Apple ties up long-term supply of sapphires
Now that Apple is using sapphires for the camera lens on the Apple iPhone, and on the home button of the Apple iPhone 5s to protect the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, the company needs to contract for a long term supply of the gemstone. To that end, Apple has inked a deal with GT Advanced Technologies that covers multiple years of sapphire supplies.

Under the term of the contract, the sapphire will be produced in an Apple plant in Mesa, Arizona. GT will purchase and operate the equipment for Apple and the latter will give GT a $578 million prepayment which will be repaid over 5 years starting in 2015. The new Apple facility in Mesa will create more than 700 jobs and will run on 100% renewable energy.

As part of the deal, GT will move to the fast-track its development of the next-gen large capacity furnace. This will produce high volumes of sapphire material at a low cost. Where will all that material go? Besides the camera lens and the home button, there is speculation that  Apple will use sapphire for displays. Why not? After all, it is a very hard material with scratch-resistant properties.

source: AllThings D

53 Comments
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posted on 04 Nov 2013, 22:34 1

1. alterecho (Posts: 1060; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)


"Apple plant"
But i thought...

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 22:56 2

6. Long1 (banned) (Posts: 399; Member since: 18 May 2013)


"Apple ties up long-term supply of sapphires"

If this doesn't help - Next time to support the APPL stock, the headlines will be:

"Apple ties up long-term supply of diamonds"

ROTFL

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 06:07

42. darkkjedii (Posts: 10134; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


You're not actually (Rolling On The Floor Laughing).

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 22:34 12

2. rcl4444 (Posts: 38; Member since: 06 Oct 2012)


Well done Apple! Not a fan but cred where cred is due.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 22:58 1

7. Long1 (banned) (Posts: 399; Member since: 18 May 2013)


Do you really buy this "sapphires" iBS?
The "gold" iPhone5S was not enough for you???

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 00:18 1

28. ardent1 (Posts: 1991; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


If your smartphone came with a sapphire display as opposed to Gorilla Glass, would that make you happy?

I know I would save over $30 by not buying the top of the line Zagg screen protector.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 01:11

32. illusionmist (Posts: 91; Member since: 29 Jan 2013)


Hint: He's got no idea what sapphire's for. Or he's a troll.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 02:07 1

38. JC557 (Posts: 857; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


Sapphire can be shatter prone unless it has a good thickness to it. It may be scratch resistant and optically clear but it's strength leaves something to be desired unless if used in layers.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 02:09

39. JC557 (Posts: 857; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


I have a Luminox dive watch that utilizes sapphire crystal and in order for it to be tough it needed to be quite thick compared to the tough plastic on my Casio G-Shock dive watch.

*I choose to wear my Luminox because of the natural lighting from the tritium tubes for when I go into dark areas or actually dive.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 09:36

46. Long1 (banned) (Posts: 399; Member since: 18 May 2013)


Do you know what iSapphire is??
Something like "gold iPhone5S".
Happy to help.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 01:10

31. Dingy_cellar_dweller (Posts: 181; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


Sapphire gives the impression of the use of a natural stone. I'd bet it's a manufactured man-made stone they will use.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 02:03

36. imMature (Posts: 75; Member since: 04 Sep 2013)


Man-made sapphire, duh.. Natural sapphire is hard to get. Since they need to make it for smartphones, they need a LOT of of them. They never said it's natural.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 07:00

43. troutsy (Posts: 243; Member since: 17 Feb 2012)


Right, this article and everything Phonearena posts about "Sapphire" is a huge misrepresentation of the actual material.

"Apple purchased a plant for making aluminum oxide crystals" and putting a picture of sandpaper doesn't generate the same number of clicks as listing sapphire and putting a picture of a gemstone.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 16:52

52. Dingy_cellar_dweller (Posts: 181; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


Aluminum Oxide is that the same material that my Dremel uses?

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 09:52

49. marbovo (Posts: 617; Member since: 16 May 2013)


Technically, man-made saphire has the same property as those ones found in the nature, and every watch which uses saphire, uses a man-made stone

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 22:34 2

3. funchumm1206 (Posts: 52; Member since: 04 Mar 2013)


Just release a bigger iphone. A7 power in a 4inch screen is a bit cramped.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 23:42

20. orca99 (Posts: 87; Member since: 05 Oct 2013)


iPhone zombies won't notice how cramped it is because they've never used a bigger screen.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 23:47 4

21. nctx77 (Posts: 445; Member since: 03 Sep 2013)


You ever heard of an ipad? You should try it out sometime.☺️

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 23:51

24. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5542; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Especially the mini edition with Resolutionary display. Coming to an iToy store near you on November 30th.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 00:20 1

29. ardent1 (Posts: 1991; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


That iToy comes with a 64-bit processor just like all the other android tablets ;-)

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 09:40 2

47. Long1 (banned) (Posts: 399; Member since: 18 May 2013)


This 64-bit Samsung Exinos processor -A7, is useless for iToys.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 22:44 2

4. woodshop20 (Posts: 459; Member since: 14 Sep 2013)


But why sapphire? Isn't plastic cheaper, lighter, flexible and scratch-resistant too?
Not bashing, just asking a genuine question.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 22:51 5

5. dorianb (Posts: 347; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


Plastic loses it clarity over the years & will appear polluted.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 23:08 1

11. rahul.niks (Posts: 41; Member since: 31 Oct 2013)


I don't think people use there phones for years nowadays, also i don't believe the fact that companies use such plastic which loses its clarity over years,,,

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 23:50 1

23. nctx77 (Posts: 445; Member since: 03 Sep 2013)


Who uses plastic for a display? Most phones have gorilla glass. Is this considered some form of plastic?

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 01:23

35. WindowsiDroid (Posts: 106; Member since: 22 Jul 2013)


Glass is also plastic and more premium but more vulnerable on damages.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 02:10

40. JC557 (Posts: 857; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


Depends, some lexan screens or watch faces can be sanded down back to clear smoothness. But then again we're talking about phones and not watch windows so plastic hardly applies here.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 23:11 2

14. suneeboy (Posts: 153; Member since: 02 Oct 2012)


Sapphire looks better, sounds better, and is better. iPhone 5S or iPhone 5C? Obviously the 5S. It's creating jobs in the US. Should be no gripe here.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 23:19 2

16. woodshop20 (Posts: 459; Member since: 14 Sep 2013)


How does the 5s create jobs in the US? I thought it was made in China?

Motorola creates jobs in the US. And frankly I don't care where it's made, because I don't live in the US, and build quality can be good in any country.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 00:23 2

30. ardent1 (Posts: 1991; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


The designers and engineers are in the US and get bug bucks for their work on the 5s.

The Moto workers are just assemblers, putting kits together.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 01:15 1

34. WHoyton1 (Posts: 1619; Member since: 21 Feb 2013)


I would rather it be built there as there is more workers than designers.....Google also design there devices in the uk so by your logic they should be applauded as well...

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 09:48

48. Long1 (banned) (Posts: 399; Member since: 18 May 2013)


Samsung created jobs in the US .
Apple now just follow, (like a great artist).
This is only to clear the rotten image.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 23:19

15. vincelongman (Posts: 959; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


Sapphire is harder (more scratch-resistant) than plastic.
However plastic is less likely to shatter compared to Sapphire.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 01:14

33. illusionmist (Posts: 91; Member since: 29 Jan 2013)


"scratch-resistant"

Wat. Seriously? You see any smartphone using plastic to cover its screen?

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 23:00

8. cc3493 (Posts: 143; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)


Question: is sapphire strong? is it more scratch resistant than gorilla glass 3?

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 23:04 1

10. rahul.niks (Posts: 41; Member since: 31 Oct 2013)


Yes, sapphire is stronger and at the same time scratch resistant, but a little costlier, not much, but yeah a little costlier

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 23:09 5

12. suneeboy (Posts: 153; Member since: 02 Oct 2012)


Sapphire can only be scratched by a diamond. So yes it's more scratch resistant than gorilla glass 3.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 02:20

41. ardent1 (Posts: 1991; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


You have think about how they cut the sapphire into thin pieces to be used as screens for smartphones.

Something obviously can cut the sapphire.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 07:02

44. troutsy (Posts: 243; Member since: 17 Feb 2012)


It would probably be drawn into net shape similar to gorilla glass and then ground with... a diamond grinding wheel.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 16:59

53. Sauce (unregistered)


A sapphire seed, about the size and shape of a hockey puck, is placed at the bottom of a single-use molybdenum barrel called a crucible. The crucible is then filled with a mixture of condensed corundum -a crystalline form of aluminum oxide- and a material called “crackle,” sapphire material left over from previous runs.

The full crucible is then placed inside the furnace, where it sits atop the “finger,” a small liquid helium-cooled platform that prevents the sapphire seed from melting too early. The furnace is sealed, the air is evacuated, and the temperature is brought up to 2100 degrees Celsius to allow the materials to melt together.

The material is put through a series of cooling cycles over the next 16 or 17 days, during which time the sapphire slowly crystallizes from bottom to top. The end result is this: a 115kg cylindrical section of industrial sapphire called a “boule.”

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 00:02 2

27. nctx77 (Posts: 445; Member since: 03 Sep 2013)


Here you go cc3493

http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/sapphire-is-unscratchable-unbreakable-and-the-next-hot-thing-in-touchscreens/

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 23:01 2

9. rahul.niks (Posts: 41; Member since: 31 Oct 2013)


Plastic is much durable, and won't break easily on fall, while any kind of glass can break easily, also plastic is light weight and so is cheap too, and worth reminding, plastic is bendable and easily available! Think wise apple!

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 23:11 5

13. woodshop20 (Posts: 459; Member since: 14 Sep 2013)


Well if Apple used plastic they would still charge the same high price, so the consumer loses either way. I'd rather they use sapphire in that case.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 23:54

25. nctx77 (Posts: 445; Member since: 03 Sep 2013)


Although I wouldn't mind it on the phone and I do believe that will happen, I think this is really for the iwatch.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 02:06

37. imMature (Posts: 75; Member since: 04 Sep 2013)


plastics scratch easily. That one reason is enough for me to stay away from plastic made displays.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 23:27 1

17. fo0ling (Posts: 15; Member since: 07 Jul 2013)


Can Apple stop copying Vertu? Copycats...

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 23:40

19. orca99 (Posts: 87; Member since: 05 Oct 2013)


Give me a break. Sapphire has been used in place of plastic/glass on various items decades before Vertu came around.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 23:28

18. Sauce (unregistered)


2000 jobs actually

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 23:49

22. Miracles (Posts: 463; Member since: 31 Aug 2013)


Hmm at this rate....that gold iphone might just end up being real gold.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 23:56

26. Lexus7 (Posts: 1; Member since: 04 Nov 2013)


2015----------------------> iPhone 6S....... S= Sapphire.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 09:25 2

45. PhoneCritic (Posts: 355; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


I Give Google credit for Manufacturing the Moto X here in the States. Bravo!!!
I Give Samsung credit for building a Foundry here in the States. Bravo!!!
I Now give Apple Credit here for bring back manufacturing of a sort to American shores. Bravo!!!
These are all steps in the right direction.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 10:03

50. Long1 (banned) (Posts: 399; Member since: 18 May 2013)


This iSapphire is as much sapphire, as your Gold iPhone5S is made of gold. iMedia was bombarding us with "gold" so far.
Next year the marketing key-word of the menial iMedia will be "Sapphire". We gonna vomit from the mill of Sapphire-articles. Be ready. Fasten your belts.

posted on 05 Nov 2013, 12:34

51. wildabeast84 (Posts: 6; Member since: 01 Jan 2012)


yippie. purple pictures for years to come!

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