Apple bought years' worth sapphire screens, reveals Canonical CEO

Apple iPhone 5S camera sapphire
The iPhone 5S has sapphire in its camera and home button

Rumors that Apple will turn to expensive but high quality sapphire for screens in its future devices are looking less and less like rumors.

Now Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth has said publicly that Apple has purchased a huge supply of sapphire displays. And how would he know?

"Apple just snapped up three years' worth of the supply of sapphire screens from the company that we had engaged to make the screens for the Edge," Shuttleworth said in a town hall meeting discussing Canonical's proposed high-end Ubuntu smartphone.

Of course, the Edge missed its Kickstarter goal by $20 million (about £12m/AU$22m), so why shouldn't Apple swoop in on its sapphire deal for the iPhone 6's benefit?

Bitter much?

Shuttleworth does seem sort of bitter, though. "Isn't it interesting that how many of the things we said the future needed to include are showing up on other people's roadmaps?" he asked.

He continued, "Apple also has started describing their latest-generation mobile CPUs as desktop-class. That's another thing we said we needed to have in the Edge was a desktop-class CPU.

"And we're starting to see the roadmaps for the devices from Samsung and others that have the same amount of RAM that we were proposing to put in the Edge."

Apple and sapphire sitting in a tree

Apple already used sapphire in the rear camera lens glass and the fingerprint sensor home button on the iPhone 5S, but rumors that its love for the tough stone might go much further began in November.

In January an unearthed patent revealed that Apple could use sapphire on more than just screens, including sticking it on processors and other components.

Apple CEO Tim Cook the very next day confirmed the company's interest in an Arizona plant tinkering with sapphire, though unsurprisingly wouldn't get into specifics.

Meanwhile, although they may not be the killer Edge that Canonical envisioned, the first Ubuntu smartphones look likely to hit stores in 2014.

  • Here's TechRadar's review of the iPad Air.


Michael Rougeau

Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.

Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.