Apple Producing Enough Sapphire for iWatch, Two iPhones

Apple's sapphire glass production has ramped up to the point where it is manufacturing enough to make surfaces for the rumored iWatch as well as two different sizes of iPhone. All of that sapphire glass is coming from GT Advanced Technologies, and the company is still installing more furnaces to meet Apple's needs.

Apple may have enough synthetic sapphire glass for two iPhone models and the iWatchApple may have enough synthetic sapphire glass for two iPhone models and the iWatch

According to Matt Margolis at Seeking Alpha, GTAT has installed 2,500 furnaces, but will be adding more in the coming weeks. The size of the sapphire boules the facility can produce range between 200 kg and 235 kg, and coupled with the production rate, adds up to enough sapphire glass to meet Apple's needs for the smaller iWatch surface as well as 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone models.

Apple teamed up with GTAT last year for the glass production project in a multi-year deal with US$578 million. Apple owns the factory while GTAT manages the production. So far, Apple hasn't said how it plans to use the glass it gets from the facility.

Rumors claim Apple is working on a fitness tracking device called iWatch, which has led to speculation that the company wants the durable glass for its watch face. Other rumors claim Apple wants to move away from Gorilla Glass for the iPhone and plans to use the material there.

Assuming GTAT can produce in the quantities Mr. Margolis estimates, Apple could have enough for both. Apple would also have incredibly strong surfaces on its devices because sapphire glass is strong enough to resist scratches better than many other glass materials.

Apple is expected to unveil the rumored iWatch in October, and new iPhone models are expected this fall, too. There hasn't been any official confirmation yet, but iOS 8 will be available this fall, and that fits with the usual fall iPhone launch schedule, too.