Apple makes at least 100 prototype next-generation iPhone units with sapphire-covered displays

“Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn is said to have successfully assembled at least 100 prototype next-generation iPhone units with sapphire-covered displays, according to a new report,” Shane Cole reports for AppleInsider.

“The testing is said to have taken place at a Foxconn-owned factory in the Longhua district of Shenzhen, a major manufacturing city in mainland China’s Guangdong province. Taiwanese newspaper Apple Daily was the first to report the news on Friday,” Cole reports. “Despite the low number of assembled units, the test reportedly marks a major milestone for Foxconn. Working with sapphire, rather than Corning’s softer Gorilla Glass, is said to markedly increase the complexity of the devices’ manufacturing process.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple patent application details uses for synthetic sapphire glass – January 23, 2014
Apple partner GT Advanced recruiting for Jobs at Arizona sapphire plant – January 21, 2014
Apple patent application reveals sapphire flexible transparent display devices created with Liquidmetal – December 19, 2013
iPhone 6 rumors: Curved display, Liquidmetal, sapphire glass, and more – December 11, 2013
Apple spends over half a billion dollars on rumored iPhone 6 sapphire glass feature – November 29, 2013
Arizona OKs tax break for Apple sapphire glass plant – November 20, 2013
Incentives to lure Apple’s sapphire glass plant to Arizona revealed – November 19, 2013
Analyst: Sapphire likely to be used in new small form factor Apple device (Think iWatch) – November 8, 2013
GTAT able to supply sapphire for over 30 million iPhone screen covers due to Apple funding – November 8, 2013
Apple’s iPhone 6 could feature unmatched sapphire glass display – November 7, 2013
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

114 Comments

  1. I don’t understand.

    How is it, changing from one crystalline build material to another, make it more complex to put it together? Simply, is Sapphire that much more stick resistant than glass? Is the problem with glue?

    Maybe they plan to curve it.

      1. It never was clear to me what was intended by the term “transparent aluminum.” In its pure metal form, aluminum does not have great material properties, and can be scratched rather easily. Its strength and hardness can be greatly improved via alloys and heat treatment. Its oxide forms can be very hard and some of them are used in abrasive grit and sandpaper.

        In fact, sapphire is a variety of aluminum oxide (Al2O3) known as corundum. So, in a sense, Apple is going to use “transparent aluminum” in its future devices. How Star Trek can you get – an iPad (PADD) with a sapphire (“transparent aluminum”) display! Of course, it lacks the stylus seen on Star Trek episodes.

        One interesting possibility – corundum can have a range of colors (purple, yellow, orange, blue, etc.) depending on the presence of trace elements such as iron, copper, etc. So Apple/GT could conceivably manufacture decorative sapphire components, such as a purple touch ID sensor or a tinted glass cover (think back of iPhone 4).

        Apple seems to investigate a whole lot of interesting technologies, and is a leader at incorporating the most promising ones into shipping devices.

  2. I can guarantee you that sapphire glass will never replace Gorilla Glass as the main glass covering the iPhone screen simply because there is no way that the cost benefit ratio of sapphire glass will over overtake Gorilla Glass, not in a thousand years. Unless Corning exits the glass manufacturing business altogether.

    There is no way that Apple will be able to bring the manufacturing cost of sapphire glass lower than the cost of Gorilla Glass. The limited production run will never justify it.

    Sapphire glass will be used in practical applications like the covering for the camera lens and fingerprint scanner where the surface area is reasonably small and protection against scratch resistance more paramount than the main screen.

    1. The problem with your “guarantee” is that no one will remember that you made it. No one will call you out on it in a year if you’re wrong simply because it will be forgotten as soon as we close our browsers.

      Why don’t you set a remainder on your calendar with a link to this page and the comment? Then in one year let us know if you are right or wrong.

        1. Hey left nut, right nut didn’t say anything was wrong about your comment. The comment was “IF you’re wrong” that know one will remember it. You should heed the advice and prove to everyone the genius you are by reminding us with a link to this post when the next iPhone doesn’t come with a sapphire screen.

            1. Dear Whateveryournameis,
              I think you are the worst kind of know-it-all, you’re a know-it-all that thinks that we’re interested in your little opinion.

        2. “Show me evidence that my statement is wrong otherwise STFU.”

          Hey nutcase, I’ll use your own language — and as much evidence as you presented…

          I can guarantee you that sapphire glass will replace Gorilla Glass as the main glass covering the iPhone screen simply because Apple will soon bring costs down. It won’t take a thousand years and it won’t be necessary that Corning exits the glass manufacturing business altogether.

          It is obvious that Apple will be able to bring the manufacturing cost of sapphire glass lower than the cost of Gorilla Glass. The extensive production run will immediately justify it.

          Already in use in applications like the covering for the camera lens and fingerprint scanner where the surface area is reasonably small, sapphire’s protection against scratch resistance will soon be extended to the main screen. In fact, Apple has already carried out a test run.

          Nutcase, you’re opinion about what Apple can and can’t do and your bombastic “guarantees” about it sound a lot like some other incessant blowhards called Dvorak, Enderle and Ballmer.

          1. Carrying out a test run is no guarantee that it will lead to a production run. A production run implies planting up manufacturing facilities, managing those facilities and recruiting workers for those facilities. These will be greenfield sites. Again, extensive R&D effort will be required. As with the ARM CPU architecture, the manufacturing will be subcontracted out to a reliable and proven manufacturer like Samsung (in the case of the A-series CPU).

            If they are going to subcontract the manufacture of sapphire glass, there is no way the subcontractor will be able to bring the cost of sapphire glass below that of Gorilla Glass simply because the manufacture of Gorilla Glass is amortised over a large number of smartphone manufacturers, including Samsung, HTC, Nokia, not just Apple.

            So measuring production run alone will not bring the cost of sapphire glass down such that it will fall below that of Gorilla Glass – the clientele base being solely Apple does not support that contention.

            1. You keep talking about bringing the cost down to equal or less than gorilla glass. You may be right. But you just don’t know Apple if you think that’s the only criteria. If it makes the phone a better product, it is something Apple WILL do if the cost isn’t prohibitive. Note that the cost could be higher and not be prohibitive.

            2. You have no idea what you’re talking about. I’ll concede that sapphire glass is more expensive than gorilla glass. I’ll also assume the subcontractor point.

              1. You have no idea how Apple negotiates, nor do you know what arrangement it might have with a subcontractor. The second Apple announces an iPhone using some kind of “Sapphire” display, others in the market will rush to copy. Next thing you know, Samsung, HTC, Nokia, and not just Apple are using the technology. This is precisely what Apple does—identify market-shattering technologies, and watch others rush to copy.

              2. Even assuming the cost is more, you don’t know—again, because you’re talking out of your ass—*how* much more sapphire glass is. It can be a substantial amount more, but still worth it for Apple to market the **first ever** phone with sapphire glass. They have an incentive to do this given the negative press they get claiming they don’t innovate anymore. They can rationally conclude to deal with higher costs until the price of sapphire comes down with future iPhone iterations.

              See BLN? That’s reasoning. You use conjecture. You’re a charlatan and terrible businessperson.

            3. Manufacturing facilities, staffing, and management…those are your arguments? That’s a bad place to start your attack. See just two of the many articles reposted on MDN:

              MDN ARTICLE 1

              MDN ARTICLE 2

              And the others who have responded are absolutely correct. Sapphire does not have to be less expensive (or even the same cost) as Gorilla Glass to make it viable. If that were true, then ordinary glass would be used over GG. If sapphire offers enough benefit – even just perceived benefit – then people will pay $10 or $20 extra for it.

              Sapphire may or may not be the next big thing. But Apple does not casually invest over $500M without some confidence that it will pay off. So, I am of the opinion that you are wrong.

            4. Sounds even better if you say it “invest HALF A BILLION dollars”
              and then touch your pinky to the corner of your mouth
              😉

              BLN is a samsung fanboy. If samsung doesn’t do it, it’s not good, wether it’s the big screen foblets or their expertise in silicon fab, or using gorilla glass 3 (he is always quick to point out that samsung uses gorilla glass 3 on the s4 and apple “just” uses GG 2)

              Sapphire has a proven track record in watch crystals (on fine watches) I have a Wenger chrono that is over a dozen year old, has been worn ever day and has been beat to crap (I was careful with it or the first several year but after that it literally just became the watch that was always on my wrist)
              The face, after a decade of brutality is still in really nice shape and barely even shows “hazing” scratches (and no major scratches)
              So yes, I agree, I would be willing to pay more for a screen that would be like the one on my watch.

            5. “I would be willing to pay more”
              Ah yes, but that is just your individual opinion, whereas Nut is the possessor of universal truths. /s

            6. And interestingly enough I took a second to look and…
              The 5s does have gorilla glass 3 (the 5 has 2) but both do (substantially) better than the samsung galaxy’s in glass breakage benchmarks.

              Just goes to show you, half of a product is what you build it out of but the other (equally important) thing is HOW you build it.

      1. The trouble with remainders is that they do not remind you what you expected them to remind you of! They just remain there until they are treated as rubbish or as an obstacle to be removed.
        You sir, BRN & BLN are a remainder!

    2. BLN, I suggest you go back to the original article that MDN linked to a few months ago. It contains financial information that makes the case for sapphire displays rather compelling. As I recall, Gorilla Glass 2 displays cost a few bucks apiece now that they are shipping in large volumes. Sapphire displays currently cost about $20 apiece, if I recall correctly. But the price will drop to $5 to $10 apiece when manufactured in volume. Apple/GT has invested a lot of money to manufacture sapphire material in volume.

      Not I don’t know about the preferences of corpulent left nuts, but I would gladly pay an extra $5 to $10 for a cell phone display that is highly scratch resistant – only diamond is harder. And I strongly suspect that most other people would gladly pay a small premium for a premium display. After all, if you are already spending hundreds on a mobile computer, why not spend that extra $10 to get a more durable display? If you doubt that, then consider that many people are already willing to pay $10 to $20 for aftermarket plastic screen protectors.

      You might also consider the fact that the video accompanying that article showed a sample sapphire display cover that appeared to be designed for an iPhone, including the round home button cutout.

      Sometimes you post some decent stuff. But, too often, you go off on nonsensical rants or beat the same dead horse over and over. Puzzling…

    3. Agreed, BLN. A Prototype is just that – a prototype, a testing unit. Apple regularly commissions small batch runs of different combinations of materials, sizes, and form factors, to evaluate its effectiveness or usability. While it is interesting it is not a guarantee of a product for sale to the public.

      1. “Contrary evidence”. Linguistically, that would mean you are asking me to counter “evidence” that you have presented. You have not presenting any, at all.

        It’s interesting how you sometimes post completely reasonably and sensible thoughts — and then, other times, you’re just a raving lunatic.

        Plus the inevitable Nut, botvijerk and a few others behavior of descending immediately into name-calling and obscenity. What a sad example of a human being you are.

        1. The evidence is that no one is using sapphire glass as a screen cover because the benefits of using sapphire glass do not outweigh its cost and the depth of manufacturing expertise embodied in GT Technologies, and its R&D into glass design and resiliency do not come up to the scale of Corning, no matter what your delusional thoughts to the contrary might be.

          Give me even a scintilla of evidence where even one phone manufacturer is using sapphire glass as the main screen. What would be the advantage of sapphire glass over Gorilla Glass 3? Is the incidence of returned phones due to scratched glass higher than normal?

          Ask yourself these questions first before spouting off contradicting my statements which are based on everyday usage and manufacturers track record. You have a contrary view that overturns everyday use, let’s have it. Otherwise you’re just spoiling for a fight – one that you’re in no position to win.

          1. Diamond glass is practical right now. Artificial diamonds are mere dollars to natural diamonds’ thousands. Sheet artificial diamonds are in use all over the world in oil, gas and mineral exploitation.

            1. Gorilla Glass 3 has been tested to be 40% more resilient to scratches and stress deformation (cracking /splintering) than Gorilla Glass 2, which is used in the iPhone 5S/5C.

              In considering glass for the use as the main screen, you need to consider also the piezoelectric effect that enables multitouch to function effortlessness as you slide your fingers across the screen. Also the permeability of the glass to light so as to maintain battery life because of the reduced backlighting needed to project images on screen.

              Gorilla Glass fulfils all these requirements as well as being a proven manufacturing technology that can be made in commercial quantities that can be delivered to the Foxconn assembly plants on time and within budget. If there is a technology that can fulfil these requirements and meet the manufacturing standards demanded by Apple, then by all means that alternative technology can fill in the shoes of Gorilla Glass.

            2. I’m sure Apple have done no research on this at all and haven’t considered any of these points. And the purchase of the technology was just a random aberration. /s

              You might want to be careful about being such a bombastic blowhard about what WILL happen in the future based on what has been happening so far.

              You may also want to learn the use of some indicators of even a tiny degree of modesty such as “I think”, “Maybe” or “As far as I can see”.

            3. The purchase of the technology is to facilitate the manufacture to spec to fit an identified use case which is the covering for the camera lens, camera flash & fingerprint reader, no more than that.

              There aren’t enough manufacturing facilities to supply the needs of an iPhone screen. Besides what would be the point of reinventing the wheel unless it was cheaper or enabled you to obtain better mileage?

              Again I come back to the advantages of using sapphire glass vs. Gorilla Glass. You haven’t cited one example of how it would be better from a cost or component supply standpoint.

              Correct me if I’m wrong but if you can’t, then sorry you have no case to answer. Simple as that. You may not like the words used but come up with a cogent argument rather than one based in semantics. You’ve already lost the argument if all you can come up with is a difference of opinion in the usage of words.

            4. Oh shut up .
              Like so many others here, sick of you f***ing arguing with everyone about every dumb little thing you think you’re an expert on..
              Just going to hit one star and move on.

            5. BLN, you have no idea how Apple might be planning to implement sapphire. Perhaps as a portion of the phone; not the entire screen. Just shut up; you have zero insight into future smartphone supply chain operations. You also have no insight into scale of operations and marginal costs of what a company like Apple can be thinking of doing with this material.

              Again, another typical BLN double standard. You don’t offer any cogent comments or analysis in 99% of your comments, yet you demand beautifully pristine comments from anyone with a difference of opinion. Loser.

            6. Apple cannot even meet demand for a relatively low demand item like the Mac Pro. They don’t have the manufacturing expertise to supply themselves with an item that sells in the low 100,000 units per quarter.

              There is no way, now or in the near future, that they will be able to manage an internal supply chain to supply 33 million screens for the iPhone per quarter.

              The evidence does not give any credence to anything you say. Sorry.

            7. BLN,

              Your post is a non-sequitur. It simply does not follow that, because Apple is having Mac Pro supply problems at the Flextronics American plant in Austin, that they will also suffer supply problems with a future, unknown product that, as of now, we can only speculate about. The evidence does not support what you’re saying, yet you’re conjecturing. Typical BLN bs. You’re demanding evidence from people about a product the world knows nothing about. What the hell are you thinking?

              Furthermore, the little we know at least suggests Apple might be toying with the idea of using sapphire for *portions* of the next iPhone, not the entire display. http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/01/23/apple-patent-filing-offers-peek-into-future-sapphire-display-cover-heat-spreader

              You’re a charlatan.

              Like most conservatives I know.

            8. The manufacturing history of Flextronics dates back to 1969 when it was formed. If Flextronics is having problems manufacturing the Mac Pro to spec, this is entirely due to Apple mismanaging the supply chain as it is Apple’s decision to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. So ultimately the responsibility for delivering the Mac Pro on time falls on Apple, not Flextronics.

              This goes to the core of Apple’s ability to manage its own supply chain which evidently has fallen well below expectations.

              As with liberals, the shifting of responsibility to someone else by playing the shuffle game is what you guys are geniuses at.

            9. I was assuming they were having production problems in Austin, given your senseless non-sequitur about a future iPhone we know nothing about.

              You have zero evidence that Apple’s “mismanagement” is causing supply chain issues, thus resulting in Mac Pro delays. It seems far more likely, given how expense the product is, and given its niche nature, that massive demand was responsible for delays. It could have been very easy to misjudge how early Apple could’ve made the computer available, given the Mac Pro’s target customers. Most of them are better off with a maxed out iMac anyway.

              See? That’s called reasoning.

            10. Excuses are what liberal excel at. Apple announced the Mac Pro at WWDC six months in advance. They couldn’t meet the December deadline that they set themselves in reasonable numbers. They knew or should have known or should have at least made a modelling assumption based on past demand and the fact that the old Mac Pro had been withdrawn from sale in Europe for 6 months prior to the date the announcement.

              The fact that they were caught by surprise is no excuse – they should have stockpiled a reasonable number of units such that supply should not be pushed back to March. This shows incompetent planning, no matter how you want to look at it.

              It’s a matter of belief for liberals that laziness should be rewarded and stupidity rewarded even more by ‘evening out the playing field’.

            11. Ohhhhh is that right BLN? I can see that you make an absolutely awful businessman. The best capitalists—that is, the most successful ones—never make half-baked, conclusory statements like this informed by nothing than sideline judgment, speculation, and hindsight. You make an awful conservative. Apple got over the Mac Pro shortage quickly. Get over it and move on. However you want to spin this, the 2013 Mac Pro is a wild success.

              And hell, there you go again BLN. More conservative tactics— you don’t address the point made, or the contention that strikes at your reasoning, you excel at stupid generalization. You still haven’t address my key point. You know, the one that stings: you have no idea what you’re talking about, because you have zero data, zero facts, and have absolutely no clue why the Mac Pro was backed up.

          2. “The evidence is that no one is using sapphire glass as a screen cover”

            “Give me even a scintilla of evidence where even one phone manufacturer is using sapphire glass as the main screen.”

            I guess you would have said the same things about Gorilla Glass as well not so long ago? Considering that no phone manufacturer would have used Gorilla Glass as a main screen were it not for Apple.

            Hell, even Corning didn’t know what to do with Gorilla Glass in consumers applications – the process was sitting in a drawer not being used prior to Steve approaching Corning about it.

            You don’t seem to know how Apple does things.

            Now, I’m not saying that there will definitely be a sapphire glass screen cover on the next iPhone, but I’m certainly not foolish enough to unequivocally state there won’t be. Much less argue with others about it.

          1. Your pronouncements have no more basis in fact than mine. You demand verifiable proof to the contrary, otherwise your bare statements are to be considered fact. That’s patently silly.

            1. I have stated the advantages of Gorilla Glass. I am simply asking for justification for sapphire glass to be used in place of Gorilla Glass.

              This amounts to providing verifiable information as to why sapphire glass is better and cheaper and represents a tangible improvement over Gorilla Glass, taking into account the cost of manufacturing against the cost of returns right now due to breakage suffered because Gorilla Glass is being used. Cost vs. benefit argument.

              Those are measurable metrics. Simply relying on Apple to know best is not the answer I’m looking for. That’s tantamount to saying God exists because the Pope says so.

            2. You don’t know the cost of sapphire glass. You assume it’s significantly higher than gorilla glass. Sapphine glass is significantly harder than gorilla glass, and more scratch resistant. Therefor, it is more desirable as a screen for cell phones, other things being equal. That is all we know. The rest is assumption on your part.

              I used to have a co-worker who did the same thing. He would state that he was going to fix something by doing this or that. The problem was that we were in an industry where doing the wrong thing could be fatal for a large number of people. This co-worker, who did not know what he was doing, was just guessing. He would make these pronouncements knowing that if he guessed right no one would correct him, and if he guessed wrong someone would do his research for him and tell him what to do. I finally began just nodding my head and saying nothing. It drove him crazy.

            3. The cost of sapphire glass by virtue of production run alone should be higher than Gorilla Glass. By deductive reasoning alone, since volume is a major factor to unit cost reduction, unless otherwise shown.

              Another issue is the greenfield manufacturing of sapphire glass whereas Gorilla Glass is proven technology that was adopted by the original iPhone and is being used by the current generation of iPhones. Are you seeing significant performance retardation because Gorilla Glass is being used?

              On the other hand, there have been more than a few cases where the fingerprint reader has failed to read the fingerprint. Whether this is due to the glass being scratched, faulty algorithm, or the glass being obscured by other means is yet to be investigated. So we cannot conclude that sapphire glass is conclusively more scratch resistant than Gorilla Glass.

              There is no doubt that the application of sapphire glass could extend to more than a covering for the camera lens and fingerprint reader. But at this point in time, unless more information is available as to the cost vs. benefit ratio, which I cannot see, substituting sapphire glass for Gorilla Glass achieves what aims? What are the objectives? Is Gorilla Glass causing a lot of cracking of iPhone screens beyond what is reasonable that is due to user clumsiness? I don’t see that.

              So what express purpose would Apple have to replace Gorilla Glass with sapphire glass? I see little gain.

            4. BLN says: “So we cannot conclude that sapphire glass is conclusively more scratch resistant than Gorilla Glass.”

              And that just proves his ignorance and flawed reasoning. Science says that sapphire is harder than GG. Demonstrations prove that sapphire is harder and more scratch resistant than GG.

              You are a fool, BLN, and that makes us even bigger fools for arguing with you. That is enough time wasted on a moron.

            5. We cannot conclude under real world usage conditions that sapphire glass exceeds the scratch resistance of Gorilla Glass due to the fact that where sapphire glass is applied to surfaces of fingerprint readers, it did not preclude incidences of failure by the reader to read fingerprints implying that it is not as scratch resistant as you think.

            6. “implying that it is not as scratch resistant as you think”

              This is an amazing example of your arrogance, rigidity and lack of ability to think.

              In NO sense is that an IMPLICATION, never mind the single implication.

              It’s a POSSIBLE reason. And there are other possible reasons such as the sensor not reading at 100% even under ideal circumstances, the interpretive software not functioning at 100% even under ideal circumstances, that the reader has gotten oily from the person’s finger, that the reader got some dirt on it from the owner’s pocket, and probably more. No particular one is IMPLIED by the SINGLE MERE FACT that there are instances of failure to read fingerprints.

            7. I have given various causative factors, above, for the reader to fail, one of which is scratches obscuring the reader and possibly faulty algorithm or dirt or fingerprint oils obscuring the reader. Whatever the causative factors might be it is not a certainty that sapphire glass will under all conditions outperform Gorilla Glass in terms of resistance to scratching particularly if your requirement is a super thin coating as sapphire glass needs to be deposited more thickly to offer the same protection as Gorilla Glass.

            8. BLN, you’re throwing up a wall of ignorance. If I had a $1 billion r&d budget I’d be able to tell you how Apple might have justified sapphire over glass. No one can– we are simply making sense of purported leaks and stories.

              You’re a charlatan who cannot humbly refrain from judgment. Here’s a tip: know what you don’t know. I thought Rumsfeld showed me conservatives were okay at this.

            9. In other words you don’t know…lots of things.
              The relative cost of bulk Guerilla v Sapphire glass?
              The relative machining costs of G v S glass?
              Process yields of either?
              Assembly costs of either?
              Future servicing cost savings of G v S glass?
              Whether Apple plans another marketing coup like 64 bit A7…also something that the benefits of which are yet to come.
              And too many other factors to mention.

              So really you have nothing to offer of any substance.

            10. BLN sapphine DOES in fact have substantial day to day durability data. Fine watches have used sapphire as the crystal for decades (which is how the cover glass on a watch got the moniker “crystal”)
              I have a Wenger on my wrist for 13 years and has been treated roughly and yet the crystal show virtually no damage or wear.

              So yes it is considerably more scratch resistant in long term real world situations.

              And BTW what you are reciting are not facts, they are simply corning marketing babble.

      2. Sapphire glass a niche product?
        Watch manufacturers have been using sapphire glass for many years, even including anti-reflective coatings, and divers and sports watches are subject to much greater amounts of abuse during wear than a cellphone, being knocked against all sorts of hard surfaces.
        The ONLY difference with using sapphire for a phone screen is the greater surface area.
        BLN, has it slipped past your notice that Apple has got a sapphire glass manufacturing facility in the US?

        1. Niche as far as application in smartphone screens & covers is concerned.

          Specialised diver’s watches cost $1,000 or more so the cost of incorporating sapphire glass to the watch face is justified. Not so for smartphones which do not require hardening to the extent of diver’s watches.

          1. Here’s some actual data for you, BLN. This demonstrates that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

            Corning GG costs $3. Sapphire currently costs $15 per unit.

            http://pocketnow.com/2013/04/03/how-sapphire-smartphone-screens-are-made

            “Accessory applications like that are already in the works from other companies, but GT Advanced is also hoping to coordinate with OEMs to include sapphire screens on smartphones right out of the box. Cost remains a big factor, but the gap is narrowing rapidly. Whereas several months ago, sapphire displays cost about $30 per smartphone, the company told us that current figures are more like $15, with next-generation technology coming in the next 12-18 months to bring that figure down further – to less than ten bucks a screen. It’s not the $3 per display that Gorilla Glass is said to cost, but it’s definitely much closer.”

            1. Again I reiterate that there is no requirement for phone manufacturers to switch to sapphire glass because the benefits of adopting sapphire glass do not outweigh the cost of adopting Gorilla Glass as a screen hardener simply because Gorilla Glass provides a level of protection that far exceeds the incidence of breakages this nullifying any commercial or technical advantages sapphire glass might have.

            2. The issue isn’t breakages. Most consumers don’t shatter their screens. Most consumers DO suffer from minor scratches on their iPhones from keeping their phones in their pockets, bags, purses, etc. Sapphire would eliminate that, and that is a huge marketing opportunity for Apple. It is a feature no other phone would offer.

              It is justifiable, and it is cost feasible in the near future.

            3. I keep my unprotected phone in my pocket all the time. I have yet to see noticeable scratches that is deleterious to the performance of the phone. That phone uses Gorilla Glass 2. Gorilla Glass 3 imparts a performance ratio of 40% greater than GG2 while maintaining the same price structure.

              You are far likelier to scratch the anodised aluminium back of the iPhone than the screen. If you want to keep your phone in pristine condition, use a case. Sapphire glass isn’t the solution.

            4. Oh, so you’re left supporting your point with an anecdote. I also have an anecdote. My iPhone gets scratched all the time because I put it in my gym bag, my pocket, I run with it, and do other outdoor activities with it. It’s a mobile phone that is constantly coming in and out of my bag during my subway commute to work. I see scratches on it over time. I don’t want to have to throw down another $20 to protect my phone. MAYBE sapphire can eliminate this issue.

              Again, you don’t *know* what Apple might be seeing in sapphire. You don’t even know what kind or composition of sapphire it is contemplating. You arrogantly assume you have all the variables figured out. You know nothing, charlatan.

            5. As I said, if you want to keep your phone in pristine condition, use a case. Gorilla Glass has tougher scratch resistance than anodised aluminium. Putting sapphire glass on the phone will not eliminate scratches. Putting a phone in a case will.

            6. As I said, Apple stands to gain a major marketing and public mindshare advantage by being able to market the first phone with sapphire glass.

              You also don’t know that sapphire might not deal with minor scratches prevalent among consumers. While I don’t know either, I don’t assume I have all the answers. That is why you are still a charlatan.

            7. I can’t help it if you can’t read English. I said, above, that scratches to the sapphire glass covering on the fingerprint reader could be a reason why it failed to read fingerprints.

              So in real life use, it’s a proven that having sapphire glass will not always allow reliable operations. And that’s scary.

            8. Here is why you are a charlatan. You are trying to refute my hypothesis of why sapphire might be plausible with a supposition of yours. Yet you flaunt it as objective fact. You say:

              “scratches to the sapphire glass covering on the fingerprint reader could be a reason why it failed to read fingerprints.

              Do you acknowledge that other plausible reasons for Touch ID not being perfect exist? It could not be: 1. smudges, 2. particulate matter, like dust, 3. inconsistency of the angle user’s finger, 4. software issues, 5. frequency of use, or a host of other reasons. Instead, you claim that Touch ID is imperfect because it suffers from scratches. From there, you claim sapphire is an infeasible material of a smartphone display, and that sapphire is a waste.

              “So in real life use, it’s a proven that having sapphire glass will not always allow reliable operations. And that’s scary.”

              Hardly. You haven’t given me “a proven” yet. You’re conjecturing, surmising—and doing so poorly.

              As I said, you have no idea what plans Apple has for sapphire, nor do you have an iota of insight into what they have discovered with the particular composition of sapphire they might be interested in. You don’t even know if it is the same sapphire they are using on Touch ID.

              My plausible reason—again, plausible, because I don’t claim to know everything like you do—still stands: sapphire might deal with minor scratches prevalent on consumers’ phones. You claim to know everything, and are a charlatan.

            9. Sapphire glass ability to overcome minor scratches is not a proven under real life use, neither is its potential benefits over Gorilla Glass proven. The fact is that sapphire glass can and does introduce inaccuracies in the reading of the fingerprint reader. Whether that is due to smudges or scratches is irrelevant. It introduces inconsistencies in the operation of a phone which is unacceptable. Gorilla Glass does not introduce such inconsistencies where the operation of unlocking the phone has never been compromised by Gorilla Glass.

              Therefore, to use sapphire glass over Gorilla Glass as a purported corrective to overcome minor scratches is economically unsound and technically unfeasible because of the thicker coating required, leading to thicker glass and a thicker phone overall.

            10. BLN, you sound like you’re squirming. The only way I can deal with the disgusting discharge you’ve left on MDN’s comment floor is to pick it up slowly; bit by bit:

              “Sapphire glass ability to overcome minor scratches is not a proven under real life use, neither is its potential benefits over Gorilla Glass proven.”

              Just because we don’t have access to Apple’s data doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the ability to overcome minor scratches. Nor does our lack of access mean it has no advantages over gorilla glass. Again, you write as if you do—and that is why you are a charlatan.

              “The fact is that sapphire glass can and does introduce inaccuracies in the reading of the fingerprint reader.”

              If you think Touch ID’s inaccuracies are due to sapphire, you are deluded. The HTC One Max’s fingerprint reader and Motorola’s Atrix fingerprint reader each are less reliable than Apple’s Touch ID. Yet, Touch ID uses sapphire, and those other devices do not. Here is one reviewer complaining about the HTC One Max’s fingerprint sensor working half the time: http://mashable.com/2014/01/24/htc-one-max-review/?utm_cid=mash-com-fb-tech-link

              “Whether that is due to smudges or scratches is irrelevant.”

              No it’s not. If smudges, your point about sapphire scratches introducing problems to functionality is invalid.

              “It introduces inconsistencies in the operation of a phone which is unacceptable.”

              I’ve already shat on this conclusion, because the HTC One Max and Motorola Atrix implementations suggest sapphire has nothing to do with the rare Touch ID problems.

              “Gorilla Glass does not introduce such inconsistencies where the operation of unlocking the phone has never been compromised by Gorilla Glass.”

              Unlocking by a swipe gesture? I can’t think of a reason sapphire screens couldn’t allow you to use a swipe gesture just the same. Can you?

              “Therefore, to use sapphire glass over Gorilla Glass as a purported corrective to overcome minor scratches is economically unsound and technically unfeasible because of the thicker coating required, leading to thicker glass and a thicker phone overall.

              I can’t help if you can’t read English, but it is feasible that Apple’s use of sapphire is economically sound and technically feasible. You don’t know that it requires a thicker coating and that it will lead to a thicker phone. You are again, a fraudulent charlatan, for thinking you know this as an objective fact. I don’t, but if Apple pulls it off, it will be because of its hardware expertise and $1 billion r&d budget, not because of half-assed conjecture a la you.

            11. Nut — there are really just two possibilities in what is going on here:

              1. Either a whole bunch of people, probably of different ages, professions, educational backgrounds and levels of tech knowledge, are all stupid ignorant fools. In that case, you should really go away to somewhere where you talk to your intellectual equals.

              2. OR a whole bunch of people, probably of different ages, professions, educational backgrounds and levels of tech knowledge all have valid points in their opinions that you are a fool and a bombastic prick, that you are blathering about unfounded opinions as if they were absolute truths and that you are not worth listening to.

              So either
              1. Please spare yourself the pain of our pathetic company and go away.
              2. Or embrace the pain of taking a fucking look at yourself and ask yourself why so many people have such negative opinions of your shitty behavior, stupidity, rigidity and arrogance.

            12. They, and you, are all wrong with respect to the relative merits of sapphire glass over Gorilla Glass.

              Gorilla Glass has been tested as reliable for use by a plethora of smartphone manufacturers, including Apple, HTC, Samsung, all of which have better R&D departments that is available to you or any of the Internet commentators here.

              One or two Internet commentators such as yourself isn’t going to change market realities.

            13. John,

              BLN is a child who has never been told “no” before in his life. He’s also never been challenged. I have embarked on a crusade against him because he encapsulates everything that is wrong with the United States and the internet itself. This crusade shall continue until I get tired 🙂

            14. BLN,

              The Macrumors link you provide simply links to the Corning press release link you provide in the same post. They’re talking about the same story. Macrumors is simply forwarding along information to its viewers for clicks.

              Nonetheless, did you even read your sources? They don’t address the fact that sapphire might be less scratch-prone than gorilla glass. The macrumors and GG links only talk about the breaking points of sapphire and GG. Whether or not the phone’s screen can withstand hundreds of pounds of pressure is irrelevant.

              Try again. You’re still a charlatan for thinking you have all the answers.

            15. “They, and you, are all wrong with respect to the relative merits of sapphire glass over Gorilla Glass.”

              You’re not addressing my point:

              1. Either we’re all stupid, in which case you should go away and find a forum with your intellectual equals.

              2. Or you REALLY need to let it in your thick school and look at why so many people are telling you that you are a fool, a prick, rigid, bombastic, and stupid, and that you are talking empty rubbish… arrogantly and blindly elevating your OPINIONS to the level of incontrovertible truth.

              But just one point on how stupid your opinion is — one of your ideas above is that you state that sapphire won’t be used because it costs more. So what? How can you possibly think that Apple wouldn’t spend a few extra dollars to have a unique material in their phones. Similarly, I can well imagine that the camera sensor costs more than the crappy sensors used in many other phones. Is that going to stop Apple? Simply – no.

            16. I have addressed the point you are making. Sapphire glass is suitable for a limited number of applications where hardness or resistance to scratching is a top priority. These applications range from a fingerprint reader to the covering for a camera lens.

              However, extending the use of sapphire glass to the entire smartphone screen is neither warranted nor justified from a commercial (cost) or technical viewpoint.

            17. “I have addressed the point you are making.”

              No. Let’s try again. Besides all facts and opinions about sapphire, more important is the thread that is running through the posts of all the people replying to you — about your conduct and manner.

              From that thread of commonality, I state there are two possibilities in what is going on:

              1. Either we’re all stupid, in which case you should go away and find a forum with your intellectual equals.

              2. Or you REALLY need to let it in your thick skull and look at why so many people are telling you that you are a fool, a prick, rigid, bombastic, and stupid, and that you are talking empty rubbish… arrogantly and blindly elevating your OPINIONS to the level of incontrovertible truth.

            18. Regarding your post to John Smith: “Gorilla Glass has been tested as reliable for use by a plethora of smartphone manufacturers, including Apple, HTC, Samsung, all of which have better R&D departments that is available to you or any of the Internet commentators here.”

              Your comment begs the question: you’re assuming all of the R&D departments have compared sapphire and GG, and concluded GG is better. The point of this MDN post is that Apple might be ready to disrupt the industry’s acceptance of GG. I’m not saying Apple WILL do this—I’m not arrogant or a charlatan, a la you—but it seems feasible that Apple CAN do this with sapphire.

              “One or two Internet commentators such as yourself isn’t going to change market realities.”

              No, but Apple might. And that’s the point. One internet commentator such as yourself can’t hold back progress.

            19. Scratch resistance is suitable for applications such as fingerprint readers and the covering of camera lens. Scratch resistance alone as a lone factor among many other factors such as weight, thinness, permeability to light, biochemical coating for rejection of fingerprints and other factors are more important.

              So I come back to my original contention that the use of sapphire glass is limited to that which was outlined earlier. Sapphire glass is unsuitable for use as an iPhone screen because scratch resistance is not the most important point to take into account when designing a phone screen. Besides as I said before there are no instances where Gorilla Glass has failed to perform to expectations with respect to scratch resistance.

              So the point of using sapphire glass as a replacement for Gorilla Glass with respect to a smartphone screen is moot and unnecessary.

            20. “Scratch resistance alone as a lone factor among many other factors such as weight, thinness, permeability to light, biochemical coating for rejection of fingerprints and other factors are more important.”

              I agree all these factors are important. My central contention remains: you assume the arrogance of knowing Apple maybe hasn’t struck a better balance with sapphire than GG. Perhaps Apple’s concluded that sapphire balances these same factors far better. Perhaps scratch resistance is much better than GG, but weight capacity is less—the typical use case scenario of the iPhone might favor the balance sapphire strikes in this case.

              Again, you are assuming what you do not know. For that, you are a charlatan.

            21. Your whole contention rests in a single premise: Apple knows better.

              You have removed the need for analytical analysis by that one statement. You do not offer any countervailing arguments why sapphire glass is better than Gorilla Glass – not from a cost standpoint, nor a technical standpoint, apart from scratch resistance. That’s your single theory – it rests on scratch resistance and nothing else.

              No, Apple doesn’t know better. Apple is testing whether it (sapphire glass) is a suitable medium for use in a smartphone screen by building prototypes. Thus far, the results of testing do not support that view, otherwise they would have adopted it as a smartphone screen.

              End of story.

            22. Nope. You either can’t read or are uncomfortable with having an awful argument. I am saying Apple MIGHT know better, not that it does. Again, BLN, you’ve left this comment floors gross:

              “You have removed the need for analytical analysis by that one statement. You do not offer any countervailing arguments why sapphire glass is better than Gorilla Glass – not from a cost standpoint, nor a technical standpoint, apart from scratch resistance. That’s your single theory – it rests on scratch resistance and nothing else.”

              I’ve already explained the cost differential between sapphire and GG—$15 to $3 today, respectively—is diminishing. I’ve linked to an article that contained first-hand interviews with a sapphire manufacturer to the same extent.

              You also misunderstand your own arrogance. I am not the one asserting I have all the answers. You are, by categorically excluding sapphire as an infeasible screen material. I am saying it might be feasible. The burden is on you to disprove, and you are failing miserably because you lack any insight into what Apple might be seeing with sapphire. You are conjecturing, and are a charlatan.

              “No, Apple doesn’t know better. Apple is testing whether it (sapphire glass) is a suitable medium for use in a smartphone screen by building prototypes. Thus far, the results of testing do not support that view, otherwise they would have adopted it as a smartphone screen.

              Do you have the results of testing!? I’d love to see them. Again, you claim to know the results of testing, and are a charlatan because you have no idea what you’re talking about.

              End of story.

            23. Sapphire glass is still more expensive than Gorilla Glass. No contest who wins.

              Apart from resistance to scratching, sapphire glass offers no tangible technical advantages to Gorilla Glass.

              Gorilla Glass can be manufactured in quantities to meet current iPhone production demands. No guarantee that sapphire glass will be able to do that given Apple’s mismanagement of the Mac Pro launch.

              Until you square the matrix for these shortcomings, there is no reason why sapphire glass should be used as a covering for a smartphone screen.

            24. I don’t have to square anything, BLN, because I am not arguing from exclusion. I don’t claim to know that sapphire is better—you claim to know GG is better, and that is why I am running circles around your mind. You cannot understand this central distinction.

              If I had access to Apple’s $1 billion r&d budget and expertise, I could answer these questions. I don’t claim to know what Apple potentially sees with sapphire; you claim to know what they can’t see.

              You still haven’t dealt with the contention that Sapphire is only $12 more expensive per unit and this differential is diminishing quickly. I’ve already provided you with a source with first-hand knowledge on this point. You myopically discount the value significant scratch resistance offers, both for the normal consumer, and for Apple’s marketing strategy. It can also claim public mindshare by marketing the first sapphire phone.

              You say: “No guarantee that sapphire glass will be able to do that given Apple’s mismanagement of the Mac Pro launch.” One has no logical connection to the other, you fool. Again, my point remains: you are a charlatan.

      3. BLN, I can’t believe that you just went there… Now people are “liberals” because they disagree with you? That mentality is a key reason why I see both extremes of the U.S. political spectrum as ridiculous and unworthy. Neither one represents me or most of the citizens in this country who understand that reasoned debate and compromise are the only ways to make progress in a democratic society.

          1. No, I guess that it doesn’t surprise me. But it never fails to disappoint me. And the worst of it is that extremism breeds extremism. The more BLN’s (or far worse, Fwhatever’s) that there are in the world, the more anti-BLNs tend to develop to balance the whole. And that leads to bad things, the recent Congressional deadlock being only the beginning.

            1. F whatever is the poisonous scorpion, not BLN, who is only disordered.

              People with disorders can be saved. Political shrikes are not worth saving.

          2. This is what I think.

            BLN is not a troll. He is a unique character, opinionated beyond doubt, but rational in the extreme in that he will suffer fools readily, attempting to elucidate his points over however much time it takes. He has charm but will not waste it on the unworthy.

            F 1 whatever on the other hand is inhuman, a copy machine of political talking points whose relevance to tech is marginal and whose contempt for everyone drips from his every sentence. He lacks charm, a quality useless to the terminally judgmental, and rather enjoys hurt.

            1. I think you are FAR too kind to jerks, hannah. There are numerous example of utter irrationality by Nut, above.

              Just two examples;

              1. “Thus far, the results of testing do not support that view, otherwise they would have adopted it as a smartphone screen.”

              The idea that “otherwise they would have adopted it” – i.e. adopted by now – in no sense follows. The fact that they haven’t adopted it YET does not validate what Nut says.

              2. “it did not preclude incidences of failure by the reader to read fingerprints implying that it is not as scratch resistant as you think.”

              In NO sense is that an IMPLICATION, never mind the single implication.
              It’s one POSSIBLE reason among many possible reasons. To state it as THE implication is both stupid and irrational.

              And statements such as the following are the very epitome of irrationality — over-the-top, foundationless statements by someone with delusions of grandeur about his personal opinions…

              – I can guarantee you that sapphire glass will never replace Gorilla Glass as the main glass covering the iPhone
              – there is no way that the cost benefit ratio of sapphire glass will over overtake Gorilla Glass
              – not in a thousand years

              “Rational in the extreme” is not even close to a correct characterization of this guy.

            2. Very well, perhaps I had mischaracterised BLN. I don’t care to refute your points. I prefer to emphasise the difference between him and a character like F1whatever. Both belabour the obvious to the point of distraction, and pollute the discussion almost beyond reason. The crucial difference is that BLN clearly cares, whereas F1etc could give a rat’s ass, as long as his candidate wins office in the next election.

            3. It’s a valid distinction. And speaking to the best in someone can be a positive stance. It can, sometimes, result in movement in their behavior and thinking.

              But I’d suggest for Nut that:

              1. Comparing a very low-end, grease soaked, fast food meal warmed up after a week to a pile of dog poop is – yes – valid. Yes, the meal is a “meal”. But comparing it to dog poop (F) does not elevate its quality.

              2. And Nut caring? About what? Apparently only his only opinion. There is no discussion going on. His thoughts are overwhelmingly irrational, with no or little connection between point A and the supposed implication or conclusion of point B. The disconnect is so extreme as to suggest very little ability to think. And his bombastic pronouncements are not only delivered with irritating arrogance, but are often outright disrespectful.

              His irrationality and emotional ugliness stands in stark contrast to some others who from time to time display their high degree of knowledge and excellent use of their brain and the English language — all delivered with respect for the reader.

  3. Here’s a blast from the past:
    “Apple shares hit new all-time intraday and closing highs
    Wednesday, September 19, 2012 · 4:25 pm ·

    In NASDAQ trading today, Apple Inc. (AAPL) shares gained $0.19, or 0.19%, on below-average volume of 11,399,090 shares to set a new all-time closing high of $702.10.”

    Hey Carl, you missed your opportunity there buddy!

Leave a Reply to silverhawk1 Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.