Rumors are surfacing about ‘Foxconn’ getting in on Apple’s sapphire business for future iPhones, courtesy of a source speaking with Cult of Mac. While Foxconn hasn’t been reported to have actual experience growing sapphire, sources say that they are reportedly very interested in the material, and that they’ve been actively pursuing various sapphire related patents over the past years.
With many reports claiming that Foxconn is looking in to a list of sapphire patents, this includes LCD displays with sapphire, methods of sapphire growth, protective sapphire covers, as well as a laser process to cut sapphire substrates which would get rid of the processes for polishing and smoothing.
Some sources say that Foxconn’s involvement may help fund the necessary capital outlays, which could be around $1-2 billion in order to add the necessary material manufactured. Other existing structures like in China, also require thousands of sapphire growth furnaces to expand Apple’s sapphire supply chain. One of the most critical requirements for producing sapphire growth is uninterrupted power, and a steady flow of water supplies.
A big challenge for Apple in getting sapphire production up and running is the significant capital investment, this is so that they can make the material in the quantities necessary. In addition to that, for the company to meet their demand for iPhone cover screens, the company would need around 3,000 165kg producing sapphire furnaces, or 2,000 262kg producing furnaces.
It has been noted from many sites that no official announcements have been made by any of the parties involved or working on it. But, there are talks which are reportedly becoming more serious and working toward an imminent decision by Apple.
“Sapphire production could be carried out in both China and Mesa, Arizona but will likely wind up landing in China. Apple is said to have been actively pursuing sapphire growth manufacturers to operate its Mesa sapphire furnaces, and one unnamed sapphire equipment provider is reportedly ‘very confident’ of the company’s ability to find an operator.” Courtesy of Cult of Mac.