The iPhone 6 debuted without any sapphire involved, and that has spelled the end for one vendor that had been hoping to cash in on it. Apple inked a deal with GT Advanced Technologies awhile back, leading to ceaseless rumors that the new iPhone would have a sapphire screen, or a sapphire home button, or a sapphire something. But all that turned out to be a non-event, and now the company has filed for bankruptcy. So what does that mean for Apple and the iPhone 7?
The price of sapphire has been plummeting for some time, which is what led Apple to consider the idea of using it on the iPhone 6. Sapphire is a stronger material than the Gorilla Glass currently used on Apple’s smartphones and tablets. But for whatever reason, Apple decided that now was not the time to go that route. In the mean time, the plunging prices have made it harder for sapphire suppliers to remain in business, even as the trend has made it easier for Apple to consider using the material on the iPhone 7 when it rolls out in 2016.
Apple prefers to own its supply chain as much as possible in order to ensure getting the components it wants when it wants them, and if the partnership had been consummated, it’s logical that Apple would have acquired GT Advanced Technologies at some point along the way. Ironically, the fact that GT has one belly-up now makes it a less expensive acquisition. But does Apple really want to buy up a bankrupt company just to tap into the sapphire market? That’s if Apple is still considering using it for the iPhone 7 at all.