Apple forays to sapphire crystal display manufacturing with purchases of furnaces, tools- report

February 7
7:00 AM 2014

Citing new information from 9to5Mac and a source, TechCrunch reported that Apple is readying to go into the manufacturing of sapphire crystal display. 9to5Mac, together with analyst Matt Margolis, has taken hold of documents revealing that Apple has placed an order with GT Advanced technologies, its partner, for a number of furnaces and chambers that are utilized in manufacturing sapphire displays. The TechCrunch source added that substantial order made at Meyer Burger for wire-based diamond cutting systems was for Apple even if the tech company was not named as a client. It is scheduled to be delivered this year, the report said.

Citing the report of 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman, TechCrunch reported that 518 units of furnaces have already been accepted by GT Advanced. This could enable it build up to 116 displays with a size of about five inches annually. Another 420 machines are still on order, bringing the total potential capacity to about 200 million display panels with a size that is estimated to be about an inch larger than the existing diagonal proportions of the screen of the iPhone 5S. Last year, Apple was able to sell about 150 million iPhones, so by crunching the numbers, it may be possible that Apple is assembling the pieces for a new production run that could cover a whole new generation of iPhone hardware, the report said.

Moreover, the 9to5 report said that GT Advanced has also placed an order for a huge number of Sirius Sapphire Display Inspection Tool components. These aid manufacturers that utilize sapphire in smartphone displays and in other mobile devices because it ramps up the yields and ensures that only the best quality sapphire reaches the production stream, the report said.

TechCrunch's own Matthew Panzarino also said that it was sensible for Apple to make an early investment in the technology if it intends to deploy it in big volumes in the future, the report said.

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