“While sapphire is a very hard material and very scratch proof, there is one major problem with it that actually makes it questionable for use as a smartphone screen,” Tim Bajarin writes for Tech.pinions.
“While the surface is very scratch proof, it is much more breakable than Corning’s Gorilla Glass and even some soda lime glass that has special composites to make it tougher,” Bajarin writes. “Even worse, if there is even the tiniest flaw in a sapphire screen, it becomes even more fragile when it comes to being dropped or accidentally hit by any solid surface or object.”
“At a special event in Palo Alto last week, Corning announced its newest version of Gorilla Glass 5, which is by far the thinnest as well as strongest glass screen they have ever made,” Bajarin writes. “Gorilla Glass 5 is already shipping to vendors and will be in some smartphones by this fall. Corning’s commitment to creating even thinner glass with harder surfaces is significant. I believe Gorilla Glass 5 makes it unlikely a sapphire smartphone screen of any type will ever gain traction.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Let’s all pause for a moment of silence at the Boule Graveyard.
And thank you, Steve Jobs, for Gorilla Glass. The existence of Gorilla Glass as a consumer product came about as a result of the original iPhone. During the development of the iPhone, Apple CEO Steve Jobs flew to Corning, New York to meet with Corning CEO Wendell Weeks.
Jobs said he wanted as much gorilla glass as Corning could make within six months. “We don’t have the capacity,” Weeks replied. “None of our plants make the glass now.”
“Don’t be afraid,” Jobs replied. This stunned Weeks, who was good-humored and confident but not used to Jobs’ reality distortion field. He tried to explain that a false sense of confidence would not overcome engineering challenges, but that was a premise that Jobs had repeatedly shown he didn’t accept. He stared at Weeks unblinking. “Yes, you can do it,” he said. “Get your mind around it. You can do it.” As Weeks retold this story, he shook his head in astonishment. “We did it in under six months,” he said. – Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
That’s how Gorilla Glass came to be.
New Gorilla Glass helps prevent smartphone display smashes – July 22, 2016
Apple, GT Advanced and the ‘boule graveyard’ – November 20, 2014
Lack of experience, mismanagement doomed GT Advanced’s sapphire adventure – November 19, 2014
Court unseals GT Advanced documents: Apple says it ‘bent over backwards’ to help sapphire supplier – November 7, 2014
Huh – did sapphire screens ever ship? They were never good enough for phones and were also most expensive.
Why compare an unreleased component with a well sourced established one?
Yes, some cheap Android phones (Kyocera’s Brigadier and Huawei’s Ascend P7) ship with sapphire screens.
Yes. Apple uses sapphire as the cover of TouchID hardware, aka the Home Button:
Touch ID: Inside the fingerprint scanner on Apple’s iPhone 5s
Apple also uses sapphire as the cover over their iOS camera lenses.
It’s my understanding that these circular covers are small enough that the brittleness of sapphire hasn’t been a significant problem.
I once read a claim that if you could flash-cool aluminium at the rate of about 20 million degrees per second, it would become transparent. I think that works out to about 0.00003 of a second given the melting point of aluminium. If true, Scotty’s reputation as a miracle worker would be secure 😀
As with other chemical reactions, it might be possible to reduce that cooling rate with a catalyst element and still arrive at transparent aluminum.
This Timothy Bajarin guy does not understand this.
Sapphire is about hardness, and Gorilla Glass is about firmness. Hardness and firmness are mutually exclusive in their extremes, so while the sapphire is very hard it can shatter more easily comparing to Gogilla Glass which is less prone to shattering, but less hard and hence more prone to getting scratches.
Finally, for about two years Apple uses its own-designed glass, not any number of Gorilla Glass. Cornig, though, continues to manufacture it along with a Japanese company, so they are only contractor manufacturers now, just as TSMC and Samsung Semiconductor with SOCs, LG Display and others with displays, and the most of other areas where Apple develops their own technology.
I love that Steve Jobs story. The biggest roadblocks to progress are fear and negativity. If you say “can’t” you won’t. And if you fear to fair, you will seldom succeed.