Xiaomi wants to beat Apple to a sapphire smartphone

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Xiaomi is set to bring sapphire displays to its smartphones. Photo: Xiaomi

Xiaomi has caught a lot of flack for copying what Apple has done previously, which is why it’s apparently gone back to the drawing board and come back with a new plan: do the things Apple thought about, but didn’t do.

With that in mind, a new report today claims that Xiaomi is set to adopt sapphire displays for its upcoming 5.7-inch Xiaomi 5, to be showcased at the upcoming 2015 Consumer Electronics Show.

The company has reportedly approached the China-based Lens Technology and Biel Crystal Manufactory about expanding their sapphire processing capacities for the job.

Apple famously attempted to use sapphire crystal for its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus product lines, going so far as to help establish a sapphire factory in Mesa, Arizona — only for their partners GT Advanced Technologies to wind up going bankrupt after failing to produce enough sapphire boules.

Even if Xiaomi is able to pull off the sapphire production, however (something which should theoretically be easier than it was for Apple, since Xiaomi isn’t making smartphones in anywhere near to iPhone quantities), it still won’t be the first company to bring sapphire smartphones to market. Earlier this year, Japan-based Kyocera launched smartphones with sapphire displays, while the China-based Vivo and Huawei Device have also launched sapphire smartphones.

It would certainly be a feather in Xiaomi’s cap, though — even if it won’t do anything to dispel accusations of Apple design theft.

If Xiaomi’s looking for more ideas, it could do a whole lot worse than check out our feature on the rumored Apple products that never came to pass.