Apple buys enough sapphire crystal furnaces to produce 200M large iPhone displays a year

Analyst Matt Margolis has unearthed more details on the happenings at the sapphire crystal plant equipped by Apple in Arizona. The production company, GT Advanced, apparently has procured enough furnaces and tools to produce up to 200 million iPhone displays in the close to 5" realm.

If it sounds pretty serious, it's because that's quite the investment, and it hardly seems to be just for camera lenses and Touch ID covers - the parts Apple has so far used sapphire for. According to documents and other data from Margolis, GT Advanced has received 518 of the sapphire crystal tools and furnaces, with 420 more waiting assembly. Let's not forget also how Apple fronted GT Advanced close to $600 million to secure exclusivity on these machines, and their production capacity, just like it bought Foxconn customized machinery for the iPhone chassis before.

With the machines already installed, the Mesa, Arizona facility can have "between 103 million and 116 million ~5-inch displays per year" produced, claims the analyst. The additional gear that is waiting assembly can raise that output to around 200 million panels even, which would cover the potential iPhone 6 sales nicely. 

Couple that with the rumored 4.7-4.8" screen for the next iPhone, and we might indeed see the tough sapphire material used over the next iPhone's touchscreen.

source: 9to5Mac

FEATURED VIDEO

34 Comments

1. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Sapphire glass, Gorilla glass, Dragontrail glass, blah, blah, blah... I remember Nokia 3310 had a plastic screen "glass" and not a single F was given in those days. :D

4. tarun.parashar

Posts: 8; Member since: Sep 11, 2013

well said bro

6. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Good work but plz no patent troll... saphirre is not a property of anyone

12. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Here is how Sapphire glass is made:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsCER0uwiWI

13. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

GT Advanced Technologies - Sapphire glass demo:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ1WWRKKelY

23. troutsy

Posts: 383; Member since: Feb 17, 2012

And here is how Diamonds are made: http://youtu.be/bWhtkkOYoxo

32. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Here is how idustrial diamonds are made:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mWQUvxcANE

7. papss unregistered

Agreed but I effing hated my palm with its plastic screen. That screen was such a scratch magnet

9. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

True, true, I agree. But it was so cheap and easy to change. :) I remember when I was opening a beer bottles with Nokia 3310, I'm not sure if in our days at least one smartphone could handle that, maybe only HTC One or some smartpones from Nokia Lumia series (ofcourse not without a scratches). :D

11. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Somewhere I have read that Sapphire glass is much more resistant for scratching in comparison with Gorilla glass or Dragontrail glass, but much easier shatters.

16. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

Sapphire is the second hardest element in the world ...next to daimond...so it won't shatter easily....It will be real advantage for iP6 over competition...if it turns out to be true

18. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

"Sapphire is the second hardest element in the world..." Remember that it is industira Sapphire, not real! It is only chemically identical to the real Sapphire, so a lot of still depends on manufacturing technology.

19. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

Oh..thanks for enlighten me......chemically identical means....it should be almost as hard as real sapphire imo...

22. tedkord

Posts: 17481; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Sapphire glass is much easier to shatter than gorilla glass at the same thickness. There is a video out there of Sapphire and gorilla in the same size and thickness being tested. The Sapphire shattered at one third the pressure that gorilla did.

24. tedkord

Posts: 17481; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

http://www.corninggorillaglass.com/gorilla-channel/Corning%C2%AE-Gorilla%C2%AE-Glass-vs.-Sapphire Here's the video. Actually, the gorilla glass didn't shatter, they stopped the video before it did. Sapphire shattered at 161lbs, gorilla was over 400lbs and still hadn't shattered when the video ended.

31. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

So far I more like Dragontrail glass than Gorilla glass.

2. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Awesome! Sapphire MADNESS!!!

3. bucky

Posts: 3795; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Looking forward to a larger screen! Please make it a 4.3-4.5 max! I hope the battery gets the needed bump for the screen size increase.

5. Anshulonweb

Posts: 468; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

Sh!t just got real...... Sapphire screen takes the game to whole new level..... samsung,sony,htc...etc all must step up thier game gorilla glass ain't gonna cut it anymore

26. tedkord

Posts: 17481; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

How so? If Apple are using Sapphire for screens, they got much more scratch resistant, but also much more breakable.

8. mrblah

Posts: 577; Member since: Jan 22, 2013

200M? I guess I better get one of each on launch day(s)!

10. Ikechukwu

Posts: 262; Member since: Oct 03, 2011

Still glass. Can we get a transparent metal??? :))

14. imeubeu

Posts: 59; Member since: Jul 01, 2012

don't get too excited it does scratch an break...i would rather have lg self heal l

17. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

In my opinion LG's self healing technology is not so good as LG would like us to believe.

28. imeubeu

Posts: 59; Member since: Jul 01, 2012

that is probably true...but i like way they going in the tech industry

25. tedkord

Posts: 17481; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Sapphire is much tougher to scratch than any other glass used in smartphones. Nearly impossible. But it is more shatter prone. LG self heal isn't glass. It's not available for screens.

27. imeubeu

Posts: 59; Member since: Jul 01, 2012

i hav jewelry made of sapphire...i can tell you it does scratch an crack

29. tedkord

Posts: 17481; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I didn't claim Sapphire couldn't scratch or break. It's much more scratch resistant than any other glass used for touchscreens, but also more brittle.

15. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

If iP6 came with sapphire glass...then it will be real advantage over competition...

20. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

Not so sure. If you trash your phone on a regular basis, maybe. Personally, I don't use cases and I don't have dents or scratches on my phone. As much as they cost, people should be taking care of them. But rest assured, this will definitely be the next marketing gimmick from Apple. They'll advertise this more than the fingerprint scanner on the 5S.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless