Apple’s iPhone 6 was supposed to introduce a new, tough display of synthetic sapphire but “bottlenecks at various levels” of sapphire production may lead to a shortage of displays or complete scrap of the plan, reports Network World.
Apple, and its sapphire furnace partner GT Advanced Technologies, have been adding capacity and ramping up sapphire production at a new factory in Mesa, Ariz. But they face challenges because of the sheer scale of creating sapphire covers for millions of smartphones, possibly in the two sizes that Virey says Apple will introduce later this year: with 4.7- and 5.5-inch screens. Sapphire is second in hardness only to diamond, so sapphire smartphone screens would be more resistant to scratching and breaking than even the treated glass, such as Corning Gorilla Glass, used today.
The plan is ambitious and revolutionary in providing more damage-resistant displays with superior resolution. But with an estimated output of 5 million displays per month and a current capacity of 2.1 million displays, Apple may have to delay or scrap the program. The last time Apple sold a mere 5 million phones in one month was in 2009. In October and November of 2013, Apple sold 51 million iPhones. It is possible that Apple could limit the sapphire display to one model iPhone to gauge consumer interest.