One of the most widespread rumors about Apple’s soon-to-be-revealed iPhone 6 involves a new screen material: sapphire glass. Though this may not sound like a big addition to casual iPhone fans, this potential inclusion could have significant implications — not only for Apple but for the mobile industry at large. Not sure exactly what this type of glass is? Don’t know why users should care? Here are four things to know about this new material before Apple’s event Tuesday, September 9.
1. Sapphire glass is a synthetic material
This glass is a synthetic form of the same compound that comprises the eponymous gemstones. Though sapphire gemstones are blue, they actually get their color from impurities that occur naturally. The synthetic glass doesn’t have these impurities, so it is completely transparent. In fact, according to Yahoo Tech, it’s even more transparent than regular glass as wavelengths of light beyond what normal humans can see can pass through this high-tech glass with ease.
2. This new material is renowned for its durability
Though its amazing clarity certainly makes for a nice feature bullet point, the real selling point of sapphire glass as a smartphone screen is its incredible hardness. This type of glass is harder to break or scratch than the Gorilla Glass currently used for iPhone screens, can withstand high temperatures, and is even resistant to chemical corrosion.
3. iPhone 5 owners have used sapphire glass before
Though sapphire glass has not been used as the main screen of an iPhone before, this material has been used in previous iPhone models. Ever notice how the glass around the camera and home buttons seems a little more durable than the rest of the phone? That’s because they are currently being protected by sapphire glass, though the screens on the iPhone 5, 5s and 5c are still made from Gorilla Glass.
4. Cost of manufacturing this glass might drive up iPhone cost
So if sapphire glass is super durable and ultra-transparent, why is it being used in only a few areas on the iPhone 5 series? Cost is a likely culprit; this glass is incredibly expensive to manufacture. Apple may pass the cost of this luxurious material on to consumers, especially those that opt for the rumored larger, more expensive iPhone 6 screen option.
Though sapphire glass isn’t exactly a brand new material, if it is indeed used for the screen of the iPhone 6, it will be a first for Apple and the smartphone market at large. Though a few other premium handsets have featured this material, these devices have also been too expensive to appeal to general consumers. Could Apple set a new standard for screens with the iPhone 6? Users won’t have to wait long to find out!
Do you think Apple will announce a sapphire glass screen for the iPhone 6 at its event Tuesday? Is it worth the cost?
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons