YORK HAMPSHIRE: In the year leading up to the release of the iPhone 6, Apple invested more than $1 billion in an effort to make sapphire one of the device’s big selling points. When Apple announced the iPhone 6 this September, however, it didn’t have a sapphire screen, only a regular glass one.
And a month later, the small New Hampshire-based company chosen to supply Apple with enormous quantities of cheap sapphire, GT Advanced Technologies, declared bankruptcy.
Sapphire must have seemed like a perfect material for a smartphone screen. It has long been used as a cover for luxury watches, and Apple has used it to cover the cameras and fingerprint sensors in some iPhones since October 2013. But making large pieces of sapphire — enough for a smartphone screen — would normally cost 10 times as much as using glass.
Apple is using sapphire for the screen of one version of its new Apple Watch — though it will not rely on GT to produce the material. But the techniques used to grow sapphire will need further development before we’re likely to see the material widely used in smartphone screens.
When Apple introduced the iPhone 6 this September, then again, it did not have a sapphire reveal, most effective an ordinary glass one. And a month later, the small New Hampshire-based totally firm chosen to produce Apple with monumental portions of low cost sapphire, GT Developed Applied sciences, declared chapter.