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Today in Apple history: Apple’s sapphire dreams shatter


Apple is gobbling up sapphire supplies at an alarming rate of knots. Photo:
A sapphire glass screen was the most-requested possible feature for iPhone 6.
Photo: GT Advanced Technologies

8 October: Today in Apple history: Apple's sapphire dreams shatter as iPhone 6 sapphire screen is a no show October 8, 2014: Apple says it is “surprised” after GT Advanced Technologies, the supplier rumored to be manufacturing ultra-strong sapphire glass displays for the new iPhone 6, says it will file for bankruptcy.

The announcement appears to mark the end of the road for sapphire glass iPhone screens, a highly anticipated upgrade that promised to make devices more durable.

Apple might shrink iPhone 13 screen notch


The iPhone 13 notch size supposedly might shrink a bit.
The iPhone 13 notch might be shorter than the current version.
Artist’s concept: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

iPhone 13 will will still have a screen notch but it’ll be a bit thinner, according to information leaking out of Apple’s Asian supply chain.

Plus, the same source says Apple will cover the camera lenses of its upcoming handset with sapphire glass.

This alligator skin iPhone X will destroy your bank account


Hadoro iPhone
3D carbon fiber, aligator skin and gold were used in Hadoro's iPhones.
Photo: Hadoro

The French luxury designer brand Hadoro has just taken the crown for the most expensive iPhone X ever created.

We’ve seen gold iPhones that pay tribute to Putin and Harry and Meghan. We’ve even seen an iPhone X with solar panels in the back. All of those were ridiculously expensive. But none of them compare to Hadoro’s lineup of 20 custom designed iPhones that cost between $5200 – $10,399.

Take a look at the two most expensive models:

New sapphire glass screens could be coming to the iPhone 6s


Apple is gobbling up sapphire supplies at an alarming rate of knots. Photo:
New sapphire glass technology could make it as good as Gorilla Glass. Photo: GT Advanced Technologies
Photo: GT Advanced Technologies

In the lead-up to the iPhone 6, everyone expected Apple to give it a sapphire glass display. Sapphire glass, it was said, would lead to nigh-indestructible screens: Scratched and shattered iPhone displays would become a thing of the past.

Of course, we all know what happened from there. Apple’s sapphire partner, GT Advanced Technologies, completely collapsed, and the iPhone 6 shipped with plain old Gorilla Glass. Yet even if it hadn’t, Apple might not have used sapphire glass, which was much more reflective and harder to read in ambient light than Gorilla Glass.

But here’s the key word: was. A new technology has emerged that might make sapphire glass every bit as good when it comes to viewability as Gorilla Glass.

Apple’s failed Arizona sapphire plant will be $2 billion data ‘command center’


GT Advanced
From sapphire to data. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac
Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

The fate of GT Advanced Technologies’ failed sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona, has been decided. After committing to repurposing the 1.3-million-square-foot facility, Apple revealed today that it will invest $2 billion in making it a global command center for all of its cloud networks.

The company plans to have 150 full-time employees based in Mesa to operate the center once it’s built, and there will be an accompanying solar farm to power the facility with 100% renewable energy.

The real chance of seeing the iWatch on September 9, according to Gene Munster


It's the rumor pretty much every Apple analysts and blogger in the world predicted for the last 8 months and everyone got it wrong.
Gene Munster says not to expect sapphire screens except on the 64GB iPhone 6.

Piper Jaffries analyst Gene Munster: Thanks to his endless advocacy of the so-called Apple HDTV, claiming year after year that Apple’s television set is just a few months away, Munster’s a bit of a laughingstock, even amongst the shallow knowledge pool of most tech analysts.

Instead of predicting the imminent arrival of a mythical Apple device, though, in Munster’s latest note, he’s making a far more reasonable prediction: When the iPhone 6 makes its debut September 9, only the 64GB model will ship with a sapphire glass display. And he’s got a call on the iWatch as well.

iPhone 6 sapphire display might be limited to premium models



The official iPhone 6 unveiling is less than four weeks away, but according a Wall Street Journal report, Apple is still debating whether it should limit its new Sapphire crystal displays to only the high-end models.

Production of Sapphire screens at Apple’s factory in Mesa is nearly up and running, and will produce twice as much sapphire as the current global output, but the company is still struggling to get enough material for the fall launch of the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6s this fall and might only add it to the most expensive models.

Apple’s sapphire glass manufacturing facility is almost ready for prime time



Will the iPhone 6 have a sapphire glass display or won’t it? So far, the jurt’s still out, with a leaked ‘sapphire’ panel turning out to be just a different type of Gorilla Glass.

Whether the iPhone 6 will or won’t have a super-hard, nigh-invulnerable sapphire glass screen, though, Apple is still doubling down on its investments into the material. In fact, it was announced today that Apple’s sapphire glass facility is nearly ready for mass production.

Crystal Baller: Fuel cell powered iPhones and 7 other silly Apple rumors



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.

The onslaught of ridiculous iPhone 6 rumors continues this week with reports claiming a huge megapixel boost is coming thanks to a new camera sensor. We’ve also heard whispers of week-long battery life coming soon, seen glimpses a possible iPhone 6 TouchID, and heard new details on the iWatch coming in different sizes this fall.

There’s even some new reports of production delays with the 5.5-inch iPhone 6, but you’ll have to gaze deep into our crystal ball to find out who the hell really knows what’s going on with Apple’s iPhablet.

The Rumor: Fuel cell powered MacBooks, iPhones, and iPads are only a few years away.

The Verdict: Unlikely. British fuel cell firm Intelligent Energy is supposedly working on a secret partnership that would give your iPhone weeklong battery life, thanks to embedded fuel cell technology. The company has long had ties with Apple, but unless a revolutionary way to refill fuel cells has been invented that doesn’t require hauling all your iOS devices to a gas station, I’d rather see a really simple and efficient wireless charging added to the iPhone.

The Rumor: Apple’s long-time ad agency TBWA is getting the axe.

The Verdict: Breaking up is hard to do, but this one is just a matter of time.

Despite creating some of Apple’s most iconic ads over the last three decades, TBWA has been on Apple’s hate-list lately, even if it’s party Samsung’s fault. TBWA’s ads are even getting better reviews than those from Apple’s in-house team, but with rumors swirling that the mothership is arming itself with a 1,000 man marketing army, I expect we’ll see Apple’s account finally switch over to a new agency within the next 12 months.

The Rumor: Only 64GB iPhone 6 units will come with Sapphire crystal displays.

The Verdict: Apple might as well not even add the Sapphire displays if this is true. Luckily, this rumor, which made its way to us via some sketchy analysts in Korea, has as good a chance to come true as Vladamir Putin has a shot of winning the US Presidency in 2016.

I mean, you never know what Vlady the Bearhunter is going to do, so I wouldn’t totally rule it out, but it’s unlikely.

The Rumor: The iPhone 6’s Touch ID sensor has been leaked.

The Verdict: Probably. These pictures are so pixelated though it’s impossible to see what major improvements have been made to make it more durable, but there is the oh-so-tantalizing glimpse of the TouchID mounting screws being moved from the top of the power cable to the bottom.

The Rumor: iWatch will come in three different sizes.

The Verdict: This rumor looks promising. Apple will at least need different band sizes for men, women and kids, but they could also be developing three completely different models, according to this rumor, which claims iWatch will come with options for a 1.8-inch or 1.6-inch display.

Sapphire crystal glass will supposedly only be used on the 1.8-inch iWatch so that it’s the most durable of the bunch, but with Apple’s plant in Mesa pumping out enough sapphire to pave America's highways, it seems unlikely Apple will only include it on some units, rather than adding it to all iWatches and iPhones.

The Rumor: Sony’s new Exmor IMX220 sensor will boost the iPhone 6 camera to 13MP.

The Verdict: Don’t get too excited iPhotogs. Chinese forums are usually the absolutely worst place to source a rumor, but GforGames is backing this one, saying it has a solid track-record of dishing Sony info. Earlier rumors claimed the iPhone 6 camera would only see a modest upgrade though, and Apple hasn’t been eager to jump into the megapixel wars.

The new Sony sensor can support up to 20MP, but the rumor claims Apple will only use it at 13MP. That would give it the power to record 1080p videos with a 3840 x 1080 resolution, making it pretty appealing for 4k fans, but it’s more likely that Apple just adds better low light performance, improved coloring, and sharper focus.

The Rumor: Production issues could delay the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 until 2015.

The Verdict: Over Tim Cook’s dead body. Ming-Chi Kuo’s reports are sometimes reliable (high praise in the world of Apple analysts), but his latest also claims the 4.7-inch iPhone won’t get a sapphire display, even though we’ve seen convincing evidence to the contrary.

Pushing the iPhablet to 2015 would be a huge blow to Apple’s 2014 product pipeline that’s expected to be the best in 25 years, but at this point, we also haven’t seen any physical evidence that it’s really on the way either.

The Rumor: Production on the 5.5-inch iPhone is actually going to start in August after all.

The Verdict: No one knows what the hell Apple is doing with the 5.5-inch iPhone. Reuters cites local media in its latest report that the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will enter production in the second week of August, while the 4.7-inch will start on the third week of July.

It’s hard to see Apple waiting until 2015 to release the iPhablet, and Ming Chi-Kuo has been wrong quite a few times, so maybe his info on the delays is off. However, we still haven’t seen a single component leak for the 5.5-incher, even though you can already build your own 4.7-inch iPhone 6 out of the river of leaked parts flowing out of Shenzhen.

Could it be that the iPhablet rumors have been wrong the entire time?