New oleophobic patent application tips Apple’s hand on sapphire displays

“While Apple remains coy about plans to incorporate sapphire into its product lineup, a new patent application published on Thursday suggests the company is at the least experimenting with the hard material for use in touch-capable displays,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider.

“Apple’s ‘Oleophobic coating on sapphire’ patent application represents some of the first hard evidence that the Cupertino, Calif. company is looking to include sapphire in its iPhone lineup,” Campbell reports. “Aside from the illustration of an iPhone on the filing’s cover page, Apple’s document makes repeated mention of sapphire displays in phones, tablets and other portable devices.”

“Specifically, the filing describes in detail the methods by which an oleophobic, or oil-repelling, coating can be applied to a sapphire slab prior to installation in a mobile device. Oleophobic coatings were first used by Apple with the iPhone 3GS in an attempt to counter the buildup of oil and other detritus inevitable with a touchscreen display,” Campbell reports. “In November, Apple signed a $578 million deal with sapphire producer GT Advanced Technologies to supply the super hard material for an as-yet-unseen product component. Many analysts and insiders speculate the partnership, which birthed a dedicated sapphire plant in Arizona, will inevitably lead to sapphire displays.”

Much more, including Apple’s patent application illustrations and diagrams, in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

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9 Comments

  1. good, this should be great market news for GTAT, which has receded from its 52-week high the last few days.. This is exactly the kind of news i was looking for to take some profit.

    1. No kidding.
      In fact, it’s even crazier than the usual baseless patent-equals-actual-plans reporting. Not only do patents not indicate what a company is planning to do, but if Apple was NOT at least investigating the use of oleophobic coatings on any material they might _possibly_ use from screens, that would be important and disturbing news.

      1. but if Apple was NOT at least investigating the use of oleophobic coatings on any material they might _possibly_ use from screens, that would be important and disturbing news.

        From Wiki…

        “A lipophobic [oleophobic] coating is used on the touchscreens of Apple’s iPhones since the 3GS,[1] their iPads,[2] Nokia’s N9 and Lumia devices, various Samsung phones such as the Google Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus, the HTC HD2[citation needed], Hero and Flyer [3] and many other phones to repel fingerprint oil…”

    2. This means nothing.

      Everyone’s iPhone and iPad has this oleophobic coating, so what do you mean this means nothing?

      A patent an oleophobic coating on sapphire, is a pretty strong indication sapphire is in our future.

      The fact that others agreed with you means nothing and it sure doesn’t make you right.

  2. Apple has to list any potential application for the method. If they did not then someone could use the method on a phone screen and Apple would not have a leg to stand on. Therefore this patent application does not that Apple will use sapphire displays for the future iPhone, merely that it is a possible application.

    1. Apple has to list any potential application for the method.

      The oleophobic coating began with the iPhone 3Gs and has been in use ever since. Reading comprehension is a problem for many of you.

      The fact that Apple has now patented the process for use on sapphire can only mean one thing!

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