It was first rumored back in 2012 that Apple would opt for sapphire covered displays for the next generation iPhone, but that hasn’t materialized up till now. All iPhones since then, including the latest flagship, tout Corning’s Gorilla Glass. There’s chatter once again of Apple testing out sapphire covered iPhones, a new report coming in from Taiwan claims that Foxconn has actually manufactured 100 prototype units of an iPhone with a sapphire covered display.
Late last year when Apple struck a deal with GT Advanced Technologies to the tune of $578 million for a sapphire manufacturing plant in Arizona, rumors started circulating once again that the company was actively considering using this material in its future iPhones instead of Gorilla Glass. According to the report, the prototypes have been manufactured at a Foxconn facility in Shenzhen. It is believed to be a major milestone for the manufacturer, given that using sapphire instead of Gorilla Glass complicates the manufacturing process. It is also noted that two of Apple’s leading sapphire suppliers, Synopsys and Bern Optics, have made large investments to acquire equipment. Both suppliers currently supply sapphire covers for the iPhone’s rear-camera as well as the Touch ID fingerprint scanner in iPhone 5s. It remains to be seen if sapphire makes its way to the next generation iPhone, the iPhone 6 that’s apparently going to have a large display and will be released in fall of 2014.