However, not many details are known about this iPhone trial run conducted by Foxconn, as the publication has not revealed what kind of iPhone models are being produced, and it’s unlikely Apple will confirm anything related to its future iPhone models.
According to analyst Matt Margolis of Seeking Alpha, Apple which entered into a $578 million contract for sapphire materials with GT Advanced Technogies, is likely to use sapphire screens produced in the latter’s Arizona facility. He also cites a recent report by a Taiwanese publication about Foxconn (Apple’s manufacturing partner) readying 100 prototypes of the next-generation iPhone with sapphire covered displays.
Margolis concludes that the Sapphire Glass screen will be embedded with solar cells in the Apple’s new plant placed in Arizona. To support this news, Margolis gives an account of several events and patents over the past year.
Here is Margolis’ fact checklist that he used to vet his conjecture:
- Apple filed solar patents that will allow them to power their electronic devices directly through solar cells.
- Apple posted and filled a Thin Films Engineer position with solar experience.
- Apple signed a $578m contract with GT Advanced Technologies to provide sapphire materials (sapphire cover screens)
- Apple announced they would be spending $10.5B in capital during fiscal year 2014 including cutting edge lasers.
- Apple recently posted a Manufacturing Design Engineer position that includes “scribing” and “PVD coating” which relate to thin films (solar cells) and lasers.
- Over 100 iPhones have been assembled with sapphire covered displays.
It has been mentioned that Apple filed a patent back in February 2013 which included the use of touch sensors and solar panel. The patent however, failed to mention how the technology works in detail. A follow-up patent made it clearer, mentioning that the touch screen panel included a power management system that takes power from solar panels.
Sapphire being one of the hardest materials, resistant to scratches, also makes it’s a perfect fit for the iPhone. Apple already uses sapphire in the iPhone’s camera lens and on the iPhone 5S’ Home button that incorporates a finger print sensor.
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