Apple is continuing to innovate. With every generation of the iPhone line the consumer gets faster, lighter, sleeker and stronger versions of the device. The upcoming iPhone 6 will be no different. Despite stronger screen materials being created, a top problem among mobile users is still screen cracks. To address the issue, Apple has taken to testing Sapphire screens for their new models, as verified today by Apple CEO Tim Cook during a interview snippet preview for tonight’s (Jan. 24, 2014) special one on one on ABC. Current models use a strong anodized aluminum, with inlays of ceramic glass, trademarked as Gorilla Glass by Corning.
The reports have spurned question as to how Sapphire would stand against the current Apple supplier with their newly releases Gorilla Glass 3 earlier this month. According to Corning, their product is not only better at protecting from a shattered screen, but it also less likely to scratch than sapphire. The company has even taken to releasing an educational webpage on the differences [link].
Recently, speculation has arisen that manufactured sapphire crystal might become an alternative to Corning’s Gorilla Glass, but according to James R. Steiner, senior vice president and general manager of Corning’s Specialty Materials segment, Corning’s not too worried:
“Sapphire’s performance as a cover for high-end watches probably leads to the current speculation. But those covers are much smaller than a mobile phone and are two to three times thicker than Gorilla Glass. In one of our commonly accepted strength tests, sapphire breaks more easily than Gorilla Glass after the same simulated use. Additionally, sapphire’s cost and environmental hit are huge issues.”
Despite the comments, reports have come out that Apple has filed the patent for a sapphire iPhone screen. It has also come out that Apple has struck a deal with GT Advances, a sapphire production facility in Mesa, Arizona. The company has been said to already be gearing up for increased material supplies. Also recently seen making large investments is Apple’s current sapphire cutters at Synopsys and Bern Optics who have made large investments in cutting machines. Further verifying the change is a report coming out of Apple’s main suppliers at FoxConn, who have claimed to have already started retrofitting models for testing purposes.
With all reports of Apple finalizing the iPhone 6, it’s likely they’d turn back now.