Naina KhedekarJan 31, 2014 12:12:13 IST
Apple’s upcoming Arizona manufacturing plant has been in news for some time now, but not much is known about it yet. A report by 9To5Mac reveals that the sapphire crystal manufacturing unit could go live as soon as next month. It is highly speculated that February kick-off is a hint that the next-gen iPhone will have a sapphire crystal display, followed by other iDevices. An earlier report said that Apple has locked down the design for the next iPhone and it will feature a 4.8-inch display.
The document – a correspondence between US Foreign Trade Zone officials and Apple’s Deputy Director of Global Trade Compliance - clearly mentions the company’s “aggressive” plans to begin manufacturing at the plant. Apple along with GT Advanced Technologies will operate the plant.
The obvious question raised is where Apple plans to use the sapphire in its devices. The possibilities are many, from display protection to camera lens covers for the iPhone or iPod Touch to a new TouchID home button for the iPads as well as applications in the wearables space. We have already seen Apple being granted a patent for interchangeable camera lenses, which would require a suitably strong material to stave off wear and tear. An earlier job listing showed that the plant would be making components for future iPhones and iPods. The report also points out that Apple’s meaning of “critical new sub-component” could mean a new component that has never been used previously in Apple devices. Apple has also applied for a patent for off-screen gestures using pressure sensitivity, where too a sapphire crystal display makes most sense.
Late last year, there were reports that GT Advanced Technologies had inked a deal with Apple for sapphire crystal. The rumour that iPhone maker could replace Corning's Gorilla Glass with sapphire for its gadget screens may possibly be true. Sapphire displays would mean more durable iPhones that have a longer shelf life.