Apple still determined to bring sapphire displays to iPhone

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Apple is gobbling up sapphire supplies at an alarming rate of knots. Photo:
It's coming. One day.
Photo: GT Advanced Technologies

It would be easy to think that Apple’s sapphire iPhone dreams went down the pan when GT Advanced Technologies went bust, but Apple’s nothing if not persistent.

Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple describing a new method for manufacturing sapphire displays by irradiating the sapphire crystal and then using a laser and “second gas medium” to slice it into the super-thin sheets Apple requires.

Fire breaks out at Apple’s Arizona command center

We said 'sapphire', not 'a fire'
We said 'sapphire', not 'a fire'
Photo: 12 News

A fire of unknown origin broke out today in Apple’s command center in Mesa, Arizona.

Local firefighters responded at around 11:30 Tuesday morning to the structure, which formerly held sapphire glass supplier GT Advanced Technologies.

A Mesa fire spokesperson said the flames seemed to be localized to the roof of the building, near Signal Butte Road and Elliot Road.

Apple Watch will consume a fifth of world’s sapphire supply

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Apple is gobbling up sapphire supplies at an alarming rate of knots. Photo:
Apple is gobbling up sapphire supplies at an alarming rate of knots. Photo: GT Advanced Technologies
Photo: GT Advanced Technologies

Apple will consume 18 percent of global sapphire ingot output making the displays for the Apple Watch, according to a new report coming out of China’s supply chain. This adds up to a whopping 30.8 million millimetres of two-inch (diameter) sapphire ingots in total.

Crystal Baller: Dual-lens iPhone 6s, ARM-based Macs and 6 more crazy Apple rumors

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The iPhone 6S rumor mill is churning

We get slammed 24/7 with new Apple rumors. Some are accurate, most are not. To give you a clue about what’s really coming out of Cupertino in the future, we’re busting out our rumor debunker each week to blow up the nonsense.

We've coming out of our winter hibernation to an avalanche of new iPhone 6S rumors claiming Apple's next smartphone will have the biggest camera upgrade ever. There's also whispers of a 12-inch MacBook Air on the horizon, and a possible ARM-powered Mac in the next year.

Step up to the crystal ball and find out which of these rumors is most likely to come true in 2015.

Apple and Intel are breaking up?

The Rumor: Your iMacs and MacBooks will be powered by ARM processors in 1 - 2 years/

The Verdict Not likely to happen yet. Ming Chi Kuo, aka “the world’s most accurate Apple analyst” has been wrong a time or two, and I think this is time he’s way off. Ditching Intel chips has been rumored forever. It still doesn’t make sense, as Apple would be sacrificing a lot of processing power for modest battery gains. It could happen in the next five years, but Kuo’s prediction that we’ll see an ARM powered MacBook in the next year sounds too soon to be true.

Dual-lens iPhone cameras?

The Rumor: The iPhone 6S will feature a dual-lens camera with optical zoom capabilities.

The Verdict: Sounds almost too good to be true, but we’ve heard this year’s camera upgrade will be the biggest ever. The iPhone is now the 2nd most popular camera brand in the world. Adding optical zoom and better image quality might be enough convince most users to never buy a regular camera again.

Apple patent takes aim at GoPro

The Rumor: GoPro is in trouble after Apple won a patent on its own wearable camera system.

The Verdict Apple is not making a wearable camera. Not because it couldn’t make a kickass wearable camera that’s even better than GoPro, but because there’s just not enough money in the wearable cameras market. If Apple can’t sell tens of millions of units of a product every quarter there’s no point in making it. GoPro investors can rest easy for another year.

iPhone joystick?

The Rumor: Your next iPhone could sport a hidden gaming joystick behind the home button.

The Verdict Probably not going to happen. There are so many more parts that could break and need repair if Apple moved to a spring loaded joystick/home button. We still haven’t seen any iPhone gaming cases take off, and this is certainly an intriguing idea, but this patent is mostly likely a glimpse into an alternative Apple universe we’ll never see.

Meet Apple's new sapphire supplier

The Rumor: Apple already lined up a new a sapphire supplier.

The Verdict Too early to tell. Ever since GTAT went belly up Apple’s been hunting for a new sapphire supplier. Previous rumors have claimed Foxconn will step in, while a recent Wall Street Journal report points to Apple supplier Desay as the possible GTAT replacement. The company already makes sapphire displays for its smartphones. Maybe the S in iPhone 6S will stand for “sapphire.”

Ready for a RAM upgrade?

The Rumor: 2GB of RAM will be the new standard on the iPhone 6S.

The Verdict The odds of the iPhone 6S getting 2GB of RAM is incredibly likely. We’re not expecting a design overall on the 6S, but there should be plenty of big internal upgrades. The iPhone 6 only has 1GB of RAM. Doubling it will certainly make it wicked fast, and all those new Metal-coded games will look better than ever.

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iPhone is ditching LCD

The Rumor: Future iPhones are set to get OLED displays.

The Verdict Count on it, but not until 2016. Foxconn is reportedly dedicating an entire factory to pumping out OLED displays for iPhones and Apple wearables. Mass production probably won’t start until 2016, which will come just in time for Apple to swap out the iPhone 6s’ LCD display with a thinner, brighter OLED beauty.

12-inch MacBook Airs with one port?

The Rumor: Apple’s redesign of the MacBook Air will pare it down to a 12-inch screen with just one port: USB Type C.

The Verdict The entire 12-inch MacBook Air Stealth scoop by Mark Gurman sounds almost too unreal. I’ll just say, I’ve also heard from one of his incredibly well placed sources, that it is going to happen.

Apple’s failed sapphire makers want to pay out millions in bonuses to senior execs

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Could Gorilla Glass soon be even better than sapphire? Photo: Corning Glass
Failed sapphire maker GT Advanced Technologies wants to pay out performance-based bonuses to its senior execs.

GT Advanced Technologies’ attempts to make sapphire iPhone screens for Apple may have ended in disaster, but that’s not stopping GT senior execs from asking for millions to be paid out in bonuses.

Because the company filed for bankruptcy protection back in October, any bonus program needs to have the signature of a judge in order to be legally binding. GT is requesting a hearing in January, although it admits there is likely to be opposition.

The bonus program would cover 9 unidentified senior executives, and could add up to $2.275 million if all the necessary targets are hit. A second bonus proposal would pay a total of $1.4 million to an additional 28 people.