Apple’s iPhone 6 could feature unmatched sapphire glass display

“Rumours are already hinting at the fact Apple’s next handset, dubbed iPhone 6, will have a full HD Retina Display and now new reports suggest this display could be made of sapphire glass,” Victoria Woollaston reports for The Daily Mail.

“These claims have been made because Apple recently announced plans to open a mineral plant in Arizona with sapphire glass experts GT Advanced Technologies,” Woollaston reports. “The facility is expected to employ around 700 people to manufacture sapphire crystal and sapphire glass, and this technology could make its way onto the screens of the next iPhone.”

Woollaston reports, “Apple already uses sapphire crystal in the Touch ID fingerprint scanner of its latest iPhone 5S. Apple additionally protects the camera on the iPhone with a small piece of this super-strong material.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Why Apple’s new sapphire manufacturing agreement is a big deal – November 7, 2013
GT Advanced Technologies spikes on sapphire deal with Apple – November 5, 2013
Apple expands ‘Made in USA’ efforts with sapphire glass factory in Arizona, creating over 2,000 jobs – November 4, 2013
Apple strikes sapphire supply deal with GT Advanced – November 4, 2013
Gorilla glass maker Corning enters into strategic partnership with Samsung Display – October 23, 2013
Sapphire glass may be used in 2014 iPhone Retina display, sources say – September 18, 2013
Vertu COO: Apple investigated sapphire crystal displays, but found them infeasible at this time – June 13, 2013
Corning’s Gorilla Glass vs. sapphire for mobile touch displays – May 28, 2013
Apple’s next iPhone screen could be made of Sapphire – May 2, 2013
Steve Jobs, steel balls and Corning’s Gorilla Glass (with video) – January 11, 2013

30 Comments

  1. There’s scratch resistance. And then there’s break resistance.

    We know Sapphire is the next hardest material after diamond.

    What I don’t know, is how shatter proof it is. Are we asking for some new kind of trouble? Where Sapphire is used, on watch crystals, it’s curved and 3mm to 4mm thick. So again, not sure about it’s pliability, additionally can it be bent or rolled up?

    1. Corundum, the stuff Sapphires and Rubies are made of is not only scratch resistant but also shatter resistant. It is used in shatter resistant windows in armored vehicles. Everyone loves to call it sapphire because it sounds exotic but it’s all just corundum. They only call it a sapphire when when it has trace amounts of other elements that make it blue, it’s called a ruby when it’s red.

      1. Oh so the clear transparent stuff is purely aluminum-oxide? Impurities give it colored gems. I know nothing about it and am trying to figure out the part I should be getting excited about.

        Last night I was trying to research all the possible transparent materials that could be used as glass. I didn’t get much passed sapphire and mineral glass.

    2. Just watched this video and the maker demos how much more scratch resistant than gorilla glass 2 it is and says that is is 2.5 times more resistant to shattering. Lol he takes a piece of concrete and scratches the crap out of a piece of gorilla glass 2 and then uses it on sapphire, and it does not scratch it at all
      because the only thing harder is diamonds.

    3. Agreed, Gollum. How “tough” is the sapphire material? Hardness is often accompanied by brittleness.

      However, an argument made in the video has the ring of truth. Scratches create stress concentrations that lead to failure under load. So a very hard material that resists scratches has at least one advantage.

    4. Your statement regarding sapphire watch crystals being curved and 3-4mm thick is wrong. I have a Series 1000 TAG Huer that I bought back in 1982, which has a completely flat sapphire crystal. Domed crystals are usually plastic, Plexiglas, or sapphire, and are used on thin-cased dress watches which don’t have the depth to allow the crystal to clear the hands.
      Look at any high-end divers or sports watches, from Rolex, B&R, Tudor, etc, and they’re all flat.
      Seiko use a material called Hardex, not sure what it’s made of.

  2. No it won’t ! Way to early for this. Sapphire glass is incredibly expensive at this time and unless these guys have something miraculous to address the very low yield rate particularly with larger panels such as an iPhone screen. Another issue is its brittleness as compared to gorilla glass.

    Most likely apple is buying the future, sometimes you see it quickly (touch ID) sometimes it takes longer (Siri, Liquid Metal). No doubt when it’s viable to apple’s standards we will see it.

    1. With Apples investment in GT Advanced the makers of sapphire, there projections show that they will be able to make sapphire screens for the iPhone for less than 10 dollars instead of the 30 it costs now. And with production of scale they will even be able to reduce that further. Which is where apples investment comes in, to produce it in mass quantities.
      They even use sapphire glass for jet aircraft windows.

    2. They said that sapphire using this technique is currently around $30 per phone display. The recent advancements and economies of scale planned by Apple will bring this down to roughly $15 per display, and likely cheaper going forward. The current Gorilla Glass 2 display cover costs around $3 per unit.

      So, will a sapphire cover be more expensive to manufacture. Certainly. But will it be “incredibly expensive?” No, not in the context of a device in the range of $500 to $600. Figure it this way: $12 extra for the sapphire material is cheap insurance if it works as well as claimed. And the resale value of the device will be maintained, as well – no scratches! The only people that will suffer from this new technology are the companies that sell aftermarket film screen covers.

      In the words of MDN, “Think before you post.” ®

  3. Color me skeptical. Sapphire is expensive. It remains to be seen whether it is flexible or can be milled to a thin depth similar to Gorilla Glass. Right now, the report is mere speculation based on anatomic extraction, just like how an analyst overestimated the number of Tesla S models produced in the past quarter based on a fan website, not facts. The result: Tesla stock got slammed.

    Instead of wild speculation, facts would be nice. This kind of crap leads to inflated expectations and a potential swoon on Apple’s stock valuation. Similarly, reports of worker abuse at an Apple Chinese assembly vendor gets blamed on Apple, even though the vendor, not Apple is the cause of the problem.

    But guess who Henry Blodgett will be the first to blame? You guessed it: Apple.

    Why this stuff even gets published astonishes me. There was a time when editors ruled, when fact checking was required before an article could be published. No longer.

    1. The “speculation” is physically present in the video! The material exists and it is available in the form factor needed for the iPhone and other mobile devices.

      What color is skeptical? Sapphire?

  4. I seriously doubt the iPhone 6 is going to have a sapphire glass display. Sapphire is not ideal in that application, it’s too brittle. More than likely Apple is making sure they have the necessary supply for their Touch ID sensors. They sell almost 250 million iOS devices a year now… if they plan on incorporating a Touch ID sensor into all of these someday, they’re going to need someone to be able to produce sapphire in mass quantities. Tired of all this speculation about moving away from Gorilla Glass.

      1. Shatter-resistant doesn’t necessarily equate with flex resistance.

        And I could easily see Touch ID sensors used on ALL of Apple’s devices – including their laptop and desktop computers, and perhaps even remotes. And frankly, it would have an extended use on other non-Apple devices, if they want to provide it – namely things like power tools (no longer so easily steal-able), school and workplace lockers, doorknobs for virtually anywhere, and even cars. If the tech is sufficiently patented and grows even more secure, there’s almost no limit to how and where it might be used.

  5. Not that I’m waiting for an iWatch but better watches, say $500 and above, are all made with sapphire faces. But having an iPhone with a sapphire screen would be pretty awesome.

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