A new report has claimed that GT Advanced Technologies, which is expected to supply scratch resistant sapphire displays for the iPhone 6, might only supply about 9-16% of them. This is with the assumption that Apple expects to ship 70 million iPhones this year. This brings the total number of sapphire displays supplied by GTAT to about 6.3-11.6 million.
These figures were taken into account considering that the smartphone would pack a 5 inch display. Currently, sapphire glass is used only on certain components of Apple devices such as the TouchID sensor on the iPhone 5s and camera modules across a wide range of Apple products. But since Apple is looking to launch phones with sapphire glass, the suppliers will have to scale up production substantially.
Older analyst estimates are in stark contradiction to this new report and have suggested that GT Advanced Technologies will be able to produce about 103-116 million displays with sapphire glass every year, thanks to the sheer number of machinery available at their disposal. The company can reportedly manufacture an additional 84 to 94 million displays every year if necessary.
Apple and GTAT have also teamed up to open a new sapphire display manufacturing unit in Arizona to meet demand sufficiently. While Apple hasn’t made it clear that this new plant will supply required materials for the new iPhone, the CEO Tim Cook has said that the company is currently testing sapphire materials for a “secret project”.
The iPhone 6 is expected to launch in September this year along with a possible iPhone 5c refresh and upgrades to the two iPads.