Apple Next-Gen Devices ‘Could Have Sapphire Glass Screens’

Apple revealed that the company plans to use saphire glass screens for its future devices.

Apple Inc. announced its new deal that would open a sapphire facility, launching talks and rumours the material could be used on the company’s next-generation devices. Photo: Jorge Quinteros/Flickr

The Cupertino based tech company revealed its plans to build a massive facility, where about 700 employees will work,  that would be sapphire glass produced, which could be used on future iPads and smartphones of the firm.

The Californian iPhone maker announced the partnership with mineral crystal firm GT Advanced Technologies, in a $578 million deal to open a plant in Arizona, US.

As The Telegraph reports, the partnership suggests that Apple will use sapphire cover glass to protect the displays used in its future devices.

“Sapphire is already used in the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the new iPhone 5S, which is likely to feature in future Apple products, although it was not used in the new iPad Air or retina iPad mini,” the publication adds.

According to reports, the Californian tech giant already uses sapphire, which is much more harder than rock, in order create additional protection for iPhone camera lenses and it is increasingly being used as a screen material in prototypes and high-end phones.

The material is much more expensive than normal screens, but an increased demand could lead to a decline in costs.

Sapphire is believed to replace currently used Gorilla Glass, supplied by Corning, and that the idea of using the material for protecting of devices’ screens would encourage other manufacturers to use it.

Sapphire is thinner, stronger, and more resistant than current cover glass solutions such as Gorilla Glass, but is also much costlier.

“GT has accelerated the development of its next generation, large capacity ASF (advanced sapphire furnaces) to deliver low cost, high volume manufacturing of sapphire material,” the company said in its statement announcing the deal.

“Although the agreement does not guarantee volumes, it does require GT to maintain a minimum level of capacity.”

The new plant is predicted to create at least 700 jobs in the first year of its functioning, plus an additional 1,300 construction-related jobs. The Cupertino company will also be investing in new renewable energy projects to power the new facility.

An Apple spokesperson said: “We are proud to expand our domestic manufacturing initiative with a new facility in Arizona, creating more than 2,000 jobs in engineering, manufacturing and construction.

“This new plant will make components for Apple products and it will run on 100 per cent renewable energy from day one, as a result of the work we are doing with SRP to create green energy sources to power the facility.”

The news comes a week after Apple’s Q4 results were announced, appearing to be quite disappointing.

Apple’s numbers in the fourth quater were surprisingly disappointing despite the company has sold 33.8 million iPhones in September, and greater China revenue climbed just 6 percent even though two highly expected next-generation smartphones hit stores a month ago.

However, the iPhone maker reports that its sales grew by about 24 percent from the previous quarter, or by about $1.1 billion. But that lagged the roughly $1.4 billion that Apple managed to tack on in the December quarter of 2012.

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