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Apple Begins Shipping Sapphire Glass For The iPhone 6 To China

Apple Begins Shipping Sapphire Glass For The iPhone 6 To China

April 30, 2014
The iPhone 6 is inching closer to reality. Apple has reportedly begun shipments of sapphire glass made at its new Mesa, Ariz. plant to China. That news comes to us from 9to5Mac, which obtained a UBS Research report on GT Advanced Technologies. The company has partnered with Apple to produce the glass. Sapphire glass is widely expected to cover the entire display of the next-generation handset. Here’s more from the report:
Checks find GT’s Arizona factory likely stared producing sapphire last month. Our own checks found that for the first time GT shipped some small quantities of sapphire made in its Arizona fab to one of Apple’s partners in China who is in charge of making sapphire covers. Our checks find the amount of ingots it sold into China last month was only about 2,200kg which would be in line with our estimate of about 100 sapphire furnaces turned on and running (our checks find 100 furnaces were targeted for installation in 4Q13). We believe GT is still on schedule in Arizona, where we estimate GT was to install another 400-500 sapphire furnaces in 1Q14 and 900-1,000 in 2Q14. GT confirmed last week that it received a 3rd prepayment from Apple recently (we estimate the 4th and last prepayment will be made in May) which also gives us confidence that its Arizona sapphire factory for Apple is tracking on schedule.
The material currently covers the Touch ID component of the iPhone 5s. But along with the iPhone 6, the iPad Air 2 is expected to have a sapphire glass display. How big a deal is the change from Corning’s Gorilla Glass? It’s a substantial one. Back in February, accessory manufacturer Aero-Gear dragged an 8-inch concrete block across an iPhone 5 sporting a screen protector made of the same sapphire glass. The result wasn’t surprising, as the protector didn’t have a scratch on it. Along with the sapphire covering, the iPhone 6 is expected to sport a larger screen and be as thin as the current-generation iPod touch. The camera might also boast a larger pixel size and use electronic image stabilization. For other news today, see: Take That Microsoft: Google Docs And Google Sheets Launch In Apple's App Store, Hulu To Begin Offering Free Content To Non-Subscribers On Mobile, and The Latest iPhone 6 Dummy Mould Shows More Of The Same. Photo: iPhone 6 concept by Martin Hajek

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