One of the more compelling rumors to attach itself to discussions of Apple’s next generation of iPhone handsets has been that of Apple introducing a synthetic sapphire display. Actually, this is a bit more than rumor at this point, since we know about Apple’s deal with GT Advanced Technologies and the sapphire furnace plant out in Arizona, leaving us just looking for confirmation that the iPhone 6 in particular will be a product that takes advantage of this material. Today we check out a new analyst report that discusses the latest happenings with GTAT and its sapphire production, claiming that sapphire is already being exported to China for assembly into the iPhone’s display.
Supposedly, small deliveries got started last month, but only using a fraction of GTAT’s production capacity. As hundreds of additional furnaces come online this quarter, possibly ramping up to over a thousand by the end of the year, sapphire output should seriously explode. That’s important, since the yield rate for the screens carved out of these massive cylinders is said to only be somewhere on the order of 25 percent.
That’s just one analysis of what’s going on at GTAT, and other estimates suggest that the company could be hitting max production even earlier in the year. That doesn’t necessarily suggest that the next iPhone will launch particularly soon, but we suppose it’s good news for anyone worried about insufficient availability by the time the launch actually does roll around.