The launch of the new iPhone 6 has made for many a happy Apple customer but left out was the much anticipated Sapphire screen cover.
Apple refuses to comment but the general concensus is that the new sapphire factory established in Mesa, Arizona either could not manufacture enough to satisfy expected sales or more likely – the process of creating sapphire laminates has not yet been perfected, so Apple resorted to an inferior, more reliable screen cover – described simply as “ion-strengthened glass”.
Fear not – the sapphire laminate is coming and it will likely be on next year’s new iPhone. Apple has invested heavily in GTAT sapphire products and only time will tell what it’s to be used for – because Apple isn’t talking.
What’s the big deal about sapphire?
Only diamond is harder than sapphire and that means screen cracking and scratching may soon be a thing of the past. Apple understands how this would translate to many more satisfied customers and the company maintains a strong conviction to being first in the market with new ideas.
Statistics show that over 1/4 of all iPhone users operate their phones with a cracked screen – and repairs aren’t cheap. Over $6 billion dollars have been spent on damaged iPhones.
On the other hand, sapphire is a highly expensive material – as much as 10X the cost of glass solutions currently being implemented on smartphones. Would consumers be forced to cover the cost of a longer-lasting screen if it’s implemented?
Engineers at GT Advanced Technologies believe they may have “cracked” the problem of consumers flipping the bill for expensive sapphire.
A new manufacturing process is allowing sapphire laminate sheets to be created at a size only 1/4 as thick as ordinary paper – while retaining all the “scratch-free” advantages that sapphire has to offer. GTAT boasts than ten sapphire displays would equal the same amount of material currently needed to create a single phone display.
How’s this all work?
The production machine is known as an “ion accelerator” and it produces an astounding two-millon volts of electricity to embed hydrogen ions into crystal wafers. The material is then heated and a new layer of sapphire is created from the formation of hydrogen bubbles that occur as a result of the embedded ions.
Science is cool!
The vice president of GTAT, Ted Smick, expects this new sapphire process to eventually change the face of all smartphones in the future. “If we can keep costs the same and create a far more durable phone cover, it’s a no-brainer”.
You might want to go ahead and purchase those GTAT stock options now.