Did Apple corner the market on 4.5 inch sapphire glass displays?

Did Apple corner the market on 4.5 inch sapphire glass displays?
The top man on the Canonical totem pole, Mark Shuttleworth, might have directed his ire at Apple and as a result, revealed a key secret. Shuttleworth stated in a teleconference that Apple snapped up three year's supply of the 4.5 inch sapphire glass panels that Canonical was going to employ on its Ubuntu powered handset called the Ubuntu Edge.

The Edge raised $12.8 million as a crowd-funded Indiegogo project, but was canceled when the targeted amount of $32 million in funding could not be met. The Ubuntu Edge was to feature a 4.5 inch screen, but use a different aspect ratio than the 16:9 used by Apple for its iconic smartphone. That is another interesting tidbit.

Apple has been rumored to be looking at replacing Gorilla Glass with sapphire screens, and earlier this year Foxconn allegedly built 100 prototype iPhones using the material to test its manufacturing prowess using sapphire glass. A later report stated that sapphire glass will not be ready for the next-genertion iPhone, but will be used on Apple's long rumored iWatch. Apple does use sapphire glass on the rear-facing camera and to protect the TouchID fingerprint sensor on the Apple iPhone 5s.

Apple is outfitting a factory in Mesa, Arizona into a sapphire glass manufacturing center, designed to produce as many as 100 to 200 million 5 inch iPhone displays a year. There are quite a few explanations for the deal Apple has apparently made to corner the 4.5 inch sapphire glass panel market. Apple might have signed the deal before its agreement in Arizona with GT Advanced Technology, or the latter deal could cover a different product than the one that will use the 4.5 inch panels.

There have been some convincing rumors stating that Apple will produce two different variants of its smartphone this year, one with a screen between 4 and 5 inches, and another with a phablet-sized display between 5 and 6 inches. This dovetails with another rumor that Apple is buying 5.6 inch sapphire glass displays for a phablet that will not use the Apple iPhone brand.

source: GigaOM via AppleInsider



1. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

I think that while 4.5 inches is bit on the compact side, I think that it's a good compromise. More space to play, yet quite compact.

2. alterecho

Posts: 1106; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

To me, Z1 Compact, with its 4.3 inch display, nailed it.

5. HansGoneInsane unregistered

We might stand before a new era of smartphone design. Lets hope Apple won't rise prices again for the "standard" non phablet iPhone, because 699€ was my absolute maximum price I would accept for a smartphone.

3. NoFanboy

Posts: 300; Member since: Nov 18, 2013

They should go at least 4.7-5 inches. I guess a 4.5 is cool if they also release a phablet

4. Bozzor

Posts: 248; Member since: May 02, 2012

I must admit that I am really looking forward to this: I know a bit about the value chain with this sapphire crystal and all the players have made some amazing breakthroughs in production tech and processes to get such a huge display (remember pretty much all sapphire crystals have only gone up to watch face size, even then making them in serial production can be tricky) made to the right quality and insane volume specs: this is brilliant innovation.

10. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

Corning already showed sapphire glass cracking way before their Gorilla Glass 3 after normal wear and tear. Jokes on apple.

6. bigstrudel

Posts: 621; Member since: Aug 20, 2012

4.5 inches seems ideal. The device can still be made very compact and be quite pocketable as well. Not to mention have a larger battery.

12. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Where you you when 4 inches was ideal? Lol

7. darkkjedii

Posts: 31757; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Apple swinging for straight away center field in 2014. Hit a salami apple.

8. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

where have you been all this time dude? this place was getting a little boring

9. darkkjedii

Posts: 31757; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Needed a break from the constant fandroid hating lol. How's it going?

11. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Welcome back

13. darkkjedii

Posts: 31757; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Case and point.

14. ameran

Posts: 344; Member since: Dec 04, 2013

4.5 inches is too small. Apple needs at least 5 inches or larger up to 6 inches these days to complete with others.

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