Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected by some industry observers to be using sapphire as a material for the display of its next iPhone, the much-awaited iPhone 6. In a report for Recode, Katherine Boehret explained five things people should know about a sapphire display.
The first idea presented by Boehret who said she talked with sapphire makers, like Kyocera, and glass makers, like Corning is that sapphire displays, if ever they will be used by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) for the iPhone 6, will be clear and will not have any hues like the usual blue color of sapphire gems. This is because sapphire that is synthesized in laboratories do not have trace elements of copper, magnesium or iron mixed with the mineral corundum which usually gives the material a hue.
Another idea presented in the report about the rumored material for the display of the next Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone is that it should not be called “sapphire glass”. Boehret wrote that, technically, sapphire is aluminum oxide which is different from glass which silicon dioxide. According to the re/code reporter, glass can morph while the properties of sapphire do not change. Because of this, people should use “sapphire display” and not “sapphire glass,” as the right term.
Meanwhile, the advantages of sapphire displays were also explained in the report. If ever Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) decides to use this material for their next iPhone, the company will be using a material that scores a nine on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Diamonds score a 10. Furthermore, sapphire displays scratch-resistant aside from being hard, the report notes. According to Boehret, an MIT Technology Review article pointed out that while expensive in the past to manufacture, GT Advanced Technologies may have a less expensive method to manufacture sapphire displays.
Sapphire, it was also pointed out, is not a new material in the technology industry. Owing to its high heat tolerance, it is used in industrial applications where a coating of this material is beneficial. For example, Boehret writes, sapphire is used to coat surfaces that are close to bright and hot lights. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will certainly not be the first to use sapphire in phones too, as Vertu and Kyocera already have phones out on the market that use this material for their displays.
This leads to the fifth and last information that the re/code report points out. There are already phones in the market that use sapphire as a component. Vertu, whether with its relatively new Signature Touch, or older Signature, uses sapphire displays. Kyocera, a company Boehret says has been making sapphire for over four decades, also recently released the Kyocera Brigadier, a rugged phone that is said to have a sapphire shield.