While we don’t know for sure yet whether the iPhone 6 will have a sapphire screen, all the clues we’ve seen lately are certainly pointing in that direction. AppleInsider reports that Apple is already planning to build an expansion to its sapphire plant in Arizona even though construction for the plant has yet to be finished. AppleInsider speculates that the plant expansion is “to accommodate higher yields for an as-yet-unknown component.” AppleInsider says that the plant should be finished and fully operational in June, which would line up perfectly for when Apple will need to start cranking out displays for its planned fall iPhone launches.
An expansion of the Arizona sapphire plant would seem to indicate that Apple is confident in its ability to mass produce sapphire displays for its upcoming devices. An earlier report from 9to5Mac this year detailed how Apple manufacturing partner GT Advanced has already ordered over 500 furnace and chamber systems for the Arizona plant, which would give it the capability to produce more than 100 million 5-inch sapphire iPhone displays per year.
We also learned this week that Apple has filed a patent application that describes a method for coating sapphire displays to make them resistant to oily fingerprints, which is something that the company has done with its standard glass display iPhones ever since the iPhone 3Gs.
No matter how you slice it, Apple is investing a lot of brainpower and money into building sapphire displays and it’s looking more likely that we’ll see devices equipped with them sooner rather than later.