During an Ubuntu Town Hall Hangout on Wednesday, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth made some interesting comments regarding Apple’s sapphire displays.
“Apple just snapped up three year’s worth of the supply of sapphire screens from the company that we had engaged to make the screens for the [Ubuntu] Edge [smartphone],” he said.
For those unfamiliar with it, the Ubuntu Edge was a proposed “high concept” smartphone announced by Canonical on 22 July 2013. Canonical was seeking to crowdfund a production run of 40,000 units through Indiegogo, but the project was scrapped when fundraising was able to only raise $12,809,906 out of the $32 million goal needed to kickstart the project.
During the chat Shuttleworth notes that,
“Isn’t it interesting that how many of the things we said the future needed to include are showing up on other people’s roadmaps? … Apple has also started describing their latest-generation mobile CPUs as desktop-class. That’s another thing we said you needed to have in the Edge was a desktop-class CPU. And we’re starting to see the roadmaps for the devices from Samsung and others that have the same amount of RAM that we were proposing to put in the Edge.”
As planned, the Edge was supposed to include 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, both Ubuntu and Android operating systems (dual boot), and a 4.5-inch sapphire display.
Sapphire has been reported as the possible screen material for the iPhone 6, although other reports have stated that Apple will use sapphire glass instead for its much-anticipated iWatch.
Apple announced late in 2013 that it was planning to open a sapphire glass manufacturing facility in Arizona — employing 700 people, which would be capable of churning out between 100 million and 200 million iPhone displays each year. Yesterday, Cult of Mac ran an Q&A article describing some of the unique selling points of sapphire crystal.