iPhone 6 may feature a Solar-Charging Sapphire Glass screen: Analyst


Few days back we reported that Apple has started trial production of iPhones with sapphire glass display.

However, according to Seeking Alpha analyst, Apple may have even more ambitious plans with the sapphire glass display.

In November 2013, Apple had confirmed that the company was planning to setup a sapphire glass production facility in Mesa, Arizona with GT Advanced Technologies. Apple started posting jobs for the Mesa facility last week.

Analyst Matt Margolis has discovered a job posting which suggests that Apple may be planning to add a solar-based wireless charging feature to the next generation iPhone by embedding ultra-thin solar cells onto sapphire glass display.

One job posting that caught my eye was Apple’s Manufacturing Design Engineer for work on the (iPhone/iPod). [..]

[..] One focus area was on Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD). PVD is a method to deposit thin films by the condensation of a vaporized form of material onto surfaces. [..]

[..] The second focus area that stood out to me was glass scribing. Why would Apple be hiring engineers to develop new processes in PVD and glass scribing at a sapphire plant? So I did what any Sherlock Holmes would do and I researched what scribing of glass could possibly mean. Through my research I located a 2011 article from Purdue University and it turns out scribing is a process used to place ultra-thin film solar cells onto glass. I think I found something, my dear Watson! Ultra thin film solar cells are typically “scribed” onto glass via expensive lasers. 

The analyst also points out that Apple had recruited a Thin Film Engineer in September 2013 who had experience in solar, and was hired to develop and refine thin film technology.

Apple has also received a number of patents for solar charging capabilities for computer and mobile devices. Margolis also believes that Apple may have placed a $68 million order for solar coating equipment from Manz AG based in Germany.

One of the biggest gripes about the iPhone since its launch. has been poor battery life. Unfortunately, it’s one area where the innovation has also been quite slow. So it will be interesting to see if Apple will introduce iPhone 6 with not only bigger displays, but also come with solar charging sapphire glass screens for improved battery life.

Let me know your thoughts on the possibilities of iPhone 6 coming solar-based wireless charging feature in the comments below.

[Seeking Alpha via BGR, Image credit: iPhone 6 concept by Nikola Cirkovic]