Following the unfortunate demise of GT Advanced, Apple’s plans for sapphire glass displays seemed to have reached a stopping point. After all, GT Advanced was the Cupertino-based giant’s main sapphire supplier.
Not all is lost though, as Foxconn might play an important part in this story. More to the point, less than a week ago it has been reported that Foxconn plans to spend $2.6 billion on a display factory in Taiwan, which will supply components solely for Apple. Up until now it was unclear what kind of panels this factory will actually produce, but according to a new report from Focus Taiwan, Foxconn will apparently use this facility to produce sapphire displays for the Cupertino-based giant.
Will Foxconn Become Apple’s Sapphire Display Supplier?
A new report from China suggests that Foxconn has decided to build a new factory in China, which will produce sapphire displays for the next-gen iPhones. Foxconn signed an agreement with the Zhengzhou city government in central China (Henan Province) in order to set up a sapphire factory on a 133-hectare plot of land situated next to an iPhone 6 assembly plant.
The source suggests that Foxconn will use this facility to produce sapphire screens for Apple’s upcoming iPhone, but we are a bit skeptical about this particular timeframe. Setting up a new factory will take a while, and initially it was believed that Foxconn will invest $2.6 billion in its new plant, over the course of the next two years. Not to mention that building this type of behemoth and setting up a viable mass production strategy are two very different things and that Apple probably hasn’t found a sapphire boules provider that can match the necessary, gigantic yield that an iPhone with a sapphire display implies.
That being said, while Foxconn may become Apple’s sapphire display supplier in the future, chances are that the next-gen iPhone’s (2015) display will not employ this type of material as its protective layer. Maybe we’ll get lucky in 2016, or perhaps Apple will be able to conjure up a new collaborator in time for the iPhone (7). Only time will tell.