Why Didn’t The iPhone 6 Ship with a Sapphire Screen?
Jeremy Tate / 2 years ago
For those of you who follow the tech news heavily, you’ll remember that over a year ago Apple signed on an agreement with GT Advanced Technologies – who were at the time a niche sapphire glass manufacturer. Sapphire glass would finally put a true leap forward in mobile screen technology, helping to curb the majority of scratched and cracked phone displays – but as soon as the contractual agreement was reached the relationship between the two companies soured and became a frenzy of problem after problem.
It turns out that Apple was originally interested in purchasing furnaces of it’s own to make the sapphire glass itself – but before it went ahead with the idea, Cupertino changed it’s mind and decided to streamline the process through GT. The Wall Street Journal’s report notes that the problem was is that GT wasn’t able to scale to Apple’s size and demand for the screens, and the two clashed heads over the large issue until it broke the smaller company. GT Advanced Technologies filed for bankruptcy early last month.
On top of this, the entire relationship was marred with incredible mistakes at almost every corner. Just days before the contract was signed between the two companies, GT produced 578 pounds of sapphire – with not even one ounce of the yield being usable. Apple as you’d expect from any large device maker, pushed hard for large scale production at low prices – which made profitability extremely difficult for GT over the span of operation with Apple. Things boiled over pretty horrendously, and the two companies met in court shortly after the release of the iPhone 6 – lacking a sapphire screen – and a bankrupt GT Advanced Technologies blaming Apple for their demise. It’s evident from reading through the Wall Street’s report that both companies have themselves to blame for the fallout.
Sapphire screens would be an incredible addition to any premium smartphone. But if this first major step from Apple is any indication of how difficult it is to try and produce a large panel of it in mass quality, having sapphire displays looks like it’s going to be a long way off.
Thanks to The Wall Street Journal for providing us with this information.