WSJ: Why Apple's IPhone Sapphire Plans Fell Through

By 10:37 Thu, 22 Jul 2021 Comments



Did you know that Apple uses one fourth of the world's supply of sapphire, just to protect the cameras and fingerprint readers of its iPhones? This statistic gives you some insight in how monumental the task of covering the recent large screens would have been.

That's not even half of it though – a Wall Street Journal article reveals that GT Advanced Technologies, the company that was meant to supply all that extra sapphire, was woefully unprepared. For one, it created its first sapphire block weighing 262kg (578 pounds) mere days before the Apple deal and it was flawed and unusable. GT had never mass produced sapphire before.

The company quickly bolstered its ranks by hiring recent employees, but that created problems with staff – the WSJ reports people getting paid overtime to sweep floors, some were slacking off while others sent hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of sapphire bricks for recycling instead of shipping.

Apple has had supply problems due to the sheer scale of its manufacture – millions of iGadgets sell in the first days, so Cupertino usually sources components from multiple companies (which creates problems too). It seems that the sapphire-making industry isn't ready for an Apple-scale production of displays, GT Advanced Technologies certainly wasn’t.

Source (paywall) | Via


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