Apple has been stocking up sapphire crystal glass ever since 2013, preparing for the iPhone 6 and iWatch. The new glass is stronger and more versatile than Corning’s Gorilla Glass, used on previous versions of the iPhone. Apple’s main supplier, GT Advanced Technologies, based in Arizona, has apparently manufactured enough to ensure production of the iPhone 6 and iWatch.
This conflicts against previous reports saying Apple would be limited supply mode for the first few months on their iPhone 6 and iWatch, not the first time Apple has not been able to bring all the of components together in time for an official launch. Apple is preparing around 200 million iPhone 6 units and 10 million iWatch units, all using sapphire crystal glass.
GT Advanced Technologies currently have 2500 furnaces making the sapphire glass and are awaiting Apple’s fourth and final pre-payment. Estimates range on how much Apple has invested in sapphire glass, it certainly has become a hundred million dollar business for GT Advanced Technologies, and a large investment from Apple in the US.
Currently Apple uses sapphire glass to protect the camera on the iPhone 5 and 5S, making the lens less likely to crack. Having the display with the same material could stop Apple from acquiring parts from two different companies and will make the display safer from cracks and scratches, even though Gorilla Glass is already an impressive material.
Apple will be announcing the iPhone 6 in August, according to several reports from insiders at Apple. This early launch date will give the iWatch some breathing room when it is unveiled in October, alongside the new iPads. The iPhone 6 will reportedly come in two new sizes, 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch, allowing iOS users to finally adopt “Android size” devices.