If you’ve been watching all the news about the rumored new panel type for Apple’s yet-to-be-announced iPhone 6, then you might be wondering: When is someone going to destroy one of the sapphire displays already?
For the uninformed, it’s widely speculated that Apple might be replacing the iPhone’s Gorilla Glass screen made by Corning with a new sapphire glass display made by Apple partner GT Advanced Technologies, which appears to be ramping up production of sapphire glass at its Arizona plant.
As for why Apple is interested in switching over, the answers are obvious: sapphire glass, which is not so much a glass as it is a single crystal of transparent sapphire that’s grown in a lab, sliced, polished, and shaped into a screen, is extremely resilient to scratching. Or, at least, that’s what GT Advanced Technologies (and some hands-on demonstrations from those who have allegedly gotten their hands on the next iPhone’s display) seem to indicate. Ask rival Corning, and sapphire glass is hardly tough at all.
Regardless, there have been quite a few videos posted to YouTube demonstrating the presumed toughness of sapphire glass. It’s been run underneath a concrete block; no scratching. It’s been stabbed with a knife; no scratching. It’s been bent in all sorts of directions, hit with a hammer, and rubbed with a screw; no scratching.
Before this starts to sound like an Apple puff piece, know that the high resistance of sapphire glass doesn’t mean that it’s impervious. A recent video has finally managed to show what it takes to shatter what appears to be a sapphire display cover for an iPhone. Only, it took running the display over with a 1.6-ton car to break the screen, reports Apple Insider.
“Note the most damaged portion of the cover is the edge that first makes contact with the tire. It appears the overwhelming force shattered this leading edge and quickly propagated toward the trailing edge, breaking off a substantial portion of the window that was likewise crushed as the car moved over it,” the blog said.
The big questions around sapphire glass remain unanswered: Does Apple really intend to use hectares of glass for the millions of iPhone devices it sells every quarter? If so, has Apple found a way to somehow reduce the costs of sapphire glass production? Quite a few pundits (and professors) seem to think that sapphire glass will make it into the next generation of iPhones.
At the very least, it’ll make for an entertaining demonstration when Tim Cook, in unveiling the device this fall, spikes it like a football.