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Sapphire glass might not be ready for prime time

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Sapphire glass might not be ready for prime time
Four times harder than regular glass, phone manufacturers have been talking about using sapphire glass as a replacement for Gorilla Glass, on a smartphone's display. But some manufacturers say that the time is not right for such a switch. Sure, to scratch sapphire glass, you would need a diamond, or some other material that rates a "10" on the hardness scale. Gorilla Glass is ranked as a "7" on the test. But there is more to look at besides a material's resistance to scratching. The pricing of a material is also important.

While sapphire glass is very expensive, Apple does use the material to cover the camera on the iPhone. On the Apple iPhone 5s, sapphire glass protects the fingerprint scanner that is embedded in the home button for Touch ID. With the scanner, the tiniest scratch can affect the results, which is why Apple has resorted to employing the material on the feature. But thus far, Apple has limited its use of sapphire glass to small pieces of the material.

Sapphire glass can be currently found on some luxury handsets, but the cost of the material is preventing it from being more widely used. Consider that the price of a large phone display made of Gorilla Glass is estimated to cost $3. A sapphire glass display of the same size would probably run about $30. LG took a look at using sapphire glass, and rejected the idea, because of the cost of obtaining the material.

"The cost and supply aren't where we'd like them to be for sapphire to be practical just yet. Sapphire's durability and scratch-resistance are certainly attractive, but Gorilla Glass isn't going to be displaced anytime soon."-Ken Hong, Global Communications Director, LG

And despite some recent videos claiming to show how unbreakable the alleged sapphire glass front panel of the iPhone 6 is, a representative from a major handset manufacturer says that the larger the size of a sapphire screen, the more brittle it is. And outside of Apple, no manufacturer will be able to procure a large enough supply of the stuff to not worry about inventory disruptions.

Thus, for now, Corning Gorilla Glass remains the material of choice for most smartphone displays. As for Apple and the iPhone, we will have to wait until the phone is unveiled, most likely in September, to see if the gang in Cupertino decides to make the switch to sapphire. If they do, it most likely will be Apple bearing the brunt of the additional cost of the material.

"The sapphire is too hard to withstand bending. It's easier to break during drop tests when the size of sapphire increases."-Anonymous representative from a major phone manufacturer

source: Engadget

74 Comments
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posted on 11 Jul 2014, 18:52 7

1. iGeek (Posts: 102; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


And Android Fabs be like ... Apple doesn't give it consumers quality products ... Apple can't innovate anymore ? My ass

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 19:04 1

6. iGeek (Posts: 102; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


Fans* lol

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 19:10 21

8. av911 (Posts: 126; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)


Buying something someone else makes is innovative? They're f*ckin' good at that, then.

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 19:22

9. iGeek (Posts: 102; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


First smartphone with sapphire ? Not saying sapphire is innovative but it's a good step

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 19:46 23

16. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5370; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


"First smartphone with sapphire ?"

No!
Vertu is using Sapphire glass like a minimum 3 years already or maybe even more.

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 19:47 4

17. darkkjedii (Posts: 10048; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Oh god, here he goes again.

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 20:22 5

30. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5370; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Also for those who are interested, here is how Sapphire glass is made:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsCER0uwiWI

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 19:51

19. iGeek (Posts: 102; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


I said a SMARTPHONE can you please tell me the name of the phone you are taking about ?

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 19:56 12

20. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5370; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


"I said a SMARTPHONE can you please tell me the name of the phone you are taking about ?"

Yes, I can tell you even few Vertu SMARTPHONE names!

Vertu Signature Touch

Vertu Constellation

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 20:01 3

22. iGeek (Posts: 102; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


Oh thank you ! I didn't know that :) Sorry for the mistake ! But you know I don't think the price of the iPhone 6 will be as these smartphone. Maybe the iPhone 6 will be the first phone to present it to the wide range of consumers. Again I'm sorry for not searching before typing that comment

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 20:04 6

24. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5370; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Here is few more:

Vertu Constellation (2013 model)

Vertu Ti

Vertu Constellation Quest

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 20:05 1

26. iGeek (Posts: 102; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


You made your point :) Got it ;) I hope you got mine

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 20:09 7

27. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5370; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


No problem. :)

posted on 12 Jul 2014, 16:08

61. gregoryyy3 (Posts: 90; Member since: 10 Nov 2010)


You're such a loser

posted on 12 Jul 2014, 21:43

67. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5370; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Poor Apple fan butthurt because I have said the truth that iPhone 6 can't be the first smartphone with Sapphire glass. :D

posted on 13 Jul 2014, 00:24 1

69. Scott93274 (Posts: 499; Member since: 06 Aug 2013)


Why are you wasting your time arguing with an idiot over how awesome a phone feature is on the phone that no one outside of Apple knows anything about. Rumors, rumors, and more rumors, that's all we've been fed up until now. You've already proven that the feature isn't innovative, and even if it does turn out that the iPhone has sapphire glass, it still won't help the feature starved iOS.

posted on 12 Jul 2014, 02:49 4

43. amiaq (Posts: 377; Member since: 30 Jun 2012)


What? No Way! Apple CREATED sapphire glass! Don't you know it?

posted on 12 Jul 2014, 09:07

49. Ashoaib (Posts: 1181; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


hey! your definition of innovation sucks... using sapphire is innovation? if it is by your standard then why not made a feature phone out of a diamond with no camera, no internet etc bcoz it will be a huge innovation that phone is out of a diamond...

for me using sapphire is nothing and not at all a significant innovation, what so ever...
instead break through in graphine implemention for circuitry, break through in battery charge holding capacity, break through in a cam, break through in displays, break through in sound quality, call quality, signal quality & speed etc are real innovations for me

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 23:24 1

42. illusionmist (Posts: 89; Member since: 29 Jan 2013)


This BS again... How many times does it take for one to remember innovation =/= invention.

What's the innovation here you ask? Improving the material and bring it to the mass market of course. Don't think that qualifies? Tell that to Thomas Edison.

posted on 12 Jul 2014, 10:13

50. Ashoaib (Posts: 1181; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


I tried to tell but thomas edison dont listen/hear anymore... thats really very rude, right?

posted on 12 Jul 2014, 14:04 1

58. av911 (Posts: 126; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)


"What's the innovation here you ask? Improving the material and bring it to the mass market of course. Don't think that qualifies? "

Qualcomm improves their SoC every year and bring it to the masses, is that innovative?

Phone cameras improve every year, is that innovative?

Apple hoarded all the material and paid someone else to develope and produce that stuff. Great innovation, indeed.

posted on 12 Jul 2014, 14:36

59. Ashoaib (Posts: 1181; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


hey dude... thats the technology which I am talking about, not the material which is just for exterior... ok its not bad to have scartch proof glass but does it relate to the technology running inside the phone?
read my above comment again for your reference... it state all, soc cam disp etc
sapphire is a great innovation indeed bcoz may be you are an i$heep... by the way this your innovation of sapphire has been done by vertu before... still credit doesnt go to apple for bringing it to phones... again its not an innovation bcoz this idea has been taken by apple from other manufacturer(vertu may be)... copying some idea is by no standard is an innovation

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 19:24 9

10. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5370; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


About what innovations you are talking here?

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 19:34 1

11. iGeek (Posts: 102; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


I'm talking in general ... Apple will continue to innovate. I think in one way or another something about the i6 will be innovative. Similarly with the iWatch, which I don't think will be coming this fall

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 19:45 7

15. Killertech2099 (Posts: 137; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


Why you are prejudging ? Did you see the iPhone 6? Did you know it's price ? How do you know it will be innovative? Sucks to be struck by your own questions. In general you know nothing about what innovation is.

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 19:57

21. iGeek (Posts: 102; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


Let's see, I said I think which means I'm predicting and my prediction cause be true/false.

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 20:22 7

31. Killertech2099 (Posts: 137; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


"Could be" and you lost me at innovation. Your prediction sucks

posted on 12 Jul 2014, 16:10

62. gregoryyy3 (Posts: 90; Member since: 10 Nov 2010)


It's ok if you think his prediction sucks. You probably have no friends so you have to sit on here all day to put other down. Insecurity at it's finest!

posted on 12 Jul 2014, 21:51

68. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5370; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


"You probably have no friends so you have to sit on here all day to put other down."

And what about you? You are also here! And looks like you are out of reasonable argument so you start to insult other people and it is insecurity at it's finest!

posted on 13 Jul 2014, 20:02

74. Killertech2099 (Posts: 137; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


It's ok he's just a hothead, my friends and my insecurities have nothing to do with the article. I let the trolls keep talking lol i think he meant "other's"

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 20:28

32. engineer-1701d (Posts: 385; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)


it's been pushed back to maybe the beginning of the year

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 21:55 2

39. ph00ny (Posts: 582; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Continue to innovate or just buy more innovative products from supplier catalog?

posted on 12 Jul 2014, 10:35

54. nithyakr (Posts: 18; Member since: 20 Jun 2014)


Well. I don't this as a real innovation. But Apple do start trends in the smartphone industry. Every one gotta admit that.. Sure virtual assistants have been in the industry for a long time. But its when only Apple announced it and made it look cool, everyone started taking it seriously.

Even with the fingerprint scanner. Its when Apple did it, HTC and Samsung used it.

And its when Apple's iWatch started making rumours everybody jumped up in the smart watch business.

You gotta admit that..

posted on 12 Jul 2014, 13:29

57. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5370; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


"And its when Apple's iWatch started making rumours everybody jumped up in the smart watch business."

This part is not true.

posted on 12 Jul 2014, 10:13 2

51. 14545 (Posts: 1052; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


Please take your idiotic fanboy comments elsewhere, child. You don't even understand the mechanical properties associated with sapphire, so please shut up. Generally speaking, as hardness goes up, so does it's brittleness. Just like more ductile materials are far less brittle, but being more ductile means they are also more prone to scratching. Usings such a hard material in a phone is stupid. As they are GOING TO get *dropped*. And when they do, they are far more likely to shatter. That's not innovation, that is apple adding in another source of revenue. I would rather a material like GG3 over sapphire anyday because it resists scratches from most any everyday object I can throw at it, but it also will resist some impacts.

http://www.phonecruncher.com/features/2345398/sapphire_vs_gorilla_glass_which_touchscreen_display_wins_on_scratch_resistance_shatterproofing_price_and_weight.html

Learn something, tool. They only innovate ways to steal more money from their customers. They don't actually give anything new and exciting to the industry. I would say windows has far more innovation than that of apple and they lost me (a former WinMo customer) after switching to metro. And yes, WP fanboys, I have and do use metro. I have a W8 laptop, I still hate it though. Anyway, back to the point, take your fanboy consumerism and shove you twit. Get an engineering degree and then come back and tell me how much better the stupid sapphire is over a more ductile material like GG3. No one needs a glass hardness of 9 on a phone. There are only a few things that would scratch a 7 glass anyway. Not to mention all the tradeoffs that come with having such a brittle, denser material.

posted on 12 Jul 2014, 20:59

63. Zero0 (Posts: 570; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


Yes, yes, yes.

Bonus points against sapphire:
- It's heavier
- It's worse at transmitting light
- It takes 100x more energy to produce

Doing new things isn't necessarily good. If I made a phone that zapped its user every 5 minutes, it would be innovative. It would also be terrible.

posted on 12 Jul 2014, 21:23

64. nithyakr (Posts: 18; Member since: 20 Jun 2014)


So when Samsung or HTC or LG or Even Nokia use a sapphire glass on their screen, I would expect you not to buy that device cause you want glass Gorilla Glass 3 on a phone.

Not even Gorilla Glass 4, when they bump up the hardness cause you obviously don't want a glass that have the hardness of 9 or higher.

And according to the sapphire glass stress test videos, it holds its ground against scratches better than gorilla glass.

But yes you do got one thing right though. When the hardness goes up, it more likely to get shattered cz all the atoms are packed so tightly together, there is no space for vibration. But I seriously doubt Apple has not thought about this issue. We just have to wait till the final product comes.

posted on 13 Jul 2014, 13:59

72. 14545 (Posts: 1052; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


I would probably buy whatever is the least resistent to fracture. Probably based on drop tests found online. I'm not going to buy "said hire glass" based on marketing gimmicks. I'll buy it based on empirical evidence maybe sapphire glass will be better. But I'm not going to buy it just because a certain flavor of smartphone manufacturer uses it, like mr. DA above. I want to see that it is actually more resistent to fracture, not scratches. I could care less about scratches as they are very easy to take care of.

posted on 13 Jul 2014, 19:22

73. 14545 (Posts: 1052; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


Ignore the terrible spelling mistakes here. Typed from my phone and clearly that worked so well for me.

posted on 12 Jul 2014, 11:31

55. The-Sailor-Man (Posts: 437; Member since: 25 Mar 2014)


Read carefully iboy;
"And despite some recent(FAKE) (i)videos claiming to show , a representative from a major handset manufacturer says that the larger the size of a sapphire screen, the more brittle it is."

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 18:53 17

2. Jinto (Posts: 260; Member since: 15 Jan 2014)


Even if apple does put a sapphire screen on the iPhone 6, iSheeep (teenage high school girls) will believe that apple invented the sapphire display (or sapphire itself) even though "Sapphire glass can be currently found on some luxury handsets"

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 19:01 9

3. Beijendorf (Posts: 274; Member since: 27 Aug 2013)


I feel like the worst part is that a lot of people will still use a plastic "screen protector" despite having a diamond-hardness display.

YOU DON'T NEED 20 DOLLARS OF FLIMSY PLASTICS! TAKE IT OFF!

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 21:15 2

37. sapiopath (Posts: 3; Member since: 11 Jul 2014)


There are other reasons except screen protection for having a screen layer. Personally, I hate it when the screen gets oily with fingerprints. I have a screen layer that makes it impossible for that to happen. Other people may have very private information on their phones that they peruse frequently and opt for screen layers that reduce the effective viewing angle of their phones.

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 19:03 2

5. Killertech2099 (Posts: 137; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


They should have thought about the cost and quantity but yet they work so much on quality. Epic fail, I was looking forward to it but now no thanks Apple. The whole sapphire i don't think will happen, it's ten times as much as gorilla glass. There is a whole different situation turning a home button and camera lens to a whole screen. I would just play it safe then have a special deal on the sapphire iPhone. But that's not how apple works unfortunately. If they do manage to pull it off expect the iPhone 6 to be more expensive.

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 19:07 3

7. iGeek (Posts: 102; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


Why you are prejudging ? Did you see the iPhone 6? Did you know it's price ? All sources say that Apple is ditching the 16 GB model for a 32 GB for the same price( which is likely to include Sapphire) . So wait then judge. Stop the hate

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 19:36 5

12. Killertech2099 (Posts: 137; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


All sources? Unlike you i don't believe every source i see. Your questioning me when I'm talking about two specific things. I'm talking about the cost and sapphire dude and hate? no my friend i don't hate anything, and your prejudging yourself aren't you? And if you want to go that far its two different models not one I suggest you keep your mouth shut. I have nothing against apple.

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 19:49

18. iGeek (Posts: 102; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


Thank You for kind reply. It all reflects your self-respect. Let's see where's the logic in your comment ? Well error 404. No logic found. You said if Apple presented a Sapphire iPhone 6 the cost will be higher. Quoting you, "iPhone 6 will be more expensive". Credible sources in the industry are known so incase they didn't teach you about reliable sources at school let me teach you that there is some sources you can rely on. Oh and you don't say there's two different models and not one ? Im sorry to tell you that's old news. So this doesnt mean you know anything about Apple. You dude should really get a life. I can't keep my mouth shut with people like you in existence. Hey one last note: try not to reproduce. Please, it makes the world a better place

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 20:17 1

29. Killertech2099 (Posts: 137; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


Are you a computer? Anyway my Logic? I said expect it to be higher, did you see "it will be" anywhere? Having expectations for something and saying it will be is two different things. In school much? I said i don't believe every source it's an opinion. I stated two different devices so you could look at this .http://www.gottabemobile.com/2014/07/10/why-im-waiting-for-the-iphone-6/
See how credible sources are? Old news? This was made yesterday lol. It's an a example if it's too hard for you to catch on. I have a life currently in school and make the world a better place by volunteering. But time to time i comment. Don't interpret my life when it has nothing to do with the article or you. It actually shows how much a life you have lol and im pretty sure you don't Apple igeek :)!

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 20:29

33. iGeek (Posts: 102; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


http://www.redmondpie.com/iphone-6-release-date-revealed-in-new-report-will-come-in-32gb-64gb-variants/

"But while many may fear the omission of the 16GB storage option will drive up prices, Tencent’s own numbers suggest that you might get a 32GB iPhone 6 for the same price as a 16GB iPhone 5s."

I hope you know RedmondPie by any chance. They are known to a trustworthy blog :)

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 20:36

36. Killertech2099 (Posts: 137; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


Yes I'm familiar with the site but i was giving you an example why you shouldn't trust all sources didn't say you couldn't. But thank you ill check them out good day to ya :)

posted on 12 Jul 2014, 21:41

66. nithyakr (Posts: 18; Member since: 20 Jun 2014)


Well I guess we all need to wait and see how iPhone 6 turns out to be rather than arguing over a product that at least will not be release for another 2 months.

but yes Sapphire seems to be expensive than Gorilla glass. But may be thats why Apple has a dedicated plant in arizona manufacturing Sapphire glass so that they can keep the cost in line not having to increase the cost of the iPhone.

And sapphire seems to cost 10 times more than gorilla glass which is about 3 dollars. So Sapphire will be 30 dollars. (I don't know the exact numbers. Just the numbers I found on PA.)
Honestly I don't mind paying extra $30 for a sapphire glass screen which is a killa screen for a mobile phone.

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 20:31

35. engineer-1701d (Posts: 385; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)


I don't understand why manufacturers don't offer the sapphire glass as an option you can pay more money to have that version of the phoneit does not cost about $30 to put sapphire glass on it was $15 the last time and that was last year so this year it should be around $12

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 21:23

38. sapiopath (Posts: 3; Member since: 11 Jul 2014)


It complicates the manufacturing process. Now, instead of having 1 assembly line for each product, you need to have 2. At least for the final part of the assembly anyway. One assembly line for the gorilla glass items and one for the sapphire ones. It's not impossible, but demand hasn't been there. With that in mind, the economics of it were not attractive to most manufacturers.

If Apple ships a sapphire display product, it will be an example of it giving people what they don't know they want. Before the iPhone came out in 2007, all phone screens were made from various plastic alloys. Steve Jobs reportedly hated that and went over to Corning and basically spurred them to create gorilla glass for the iPhone. The difference here is that sapphire displays are already an existing technology with clear manufacturing processes. Gorilla glass was basically developed in the 6 months before iPhone production began.

This ties into the innovation debate as well. Apple is an innovative company not only because it develops significant technologies on its own, but also because it spurs others to innovate as well.

By the way, what's with all the writers here? How come they don't have profile pages? How can I follow the work of individual writers? This makes no sense.

posted on 12 Jul 2014, 08:22

47. Jmerithew87 (Posts: 4; Member since: 29 Mar 2014)


Last estimates I saw were about 3.3 times more expensive than Gorilla Glass. An average Gorilla Glass screen costs 3 dollars to manufacture where a Sapphire screen costs 10. Don't get me wrong, a Sapphire screen isn't going to get me to jump ship from Android, but I think all these "not ready from primetime" articles are just trying to downplay Sapphire while Corning scrambles to make a Gorilla Glass to compete. I hope that if Corning can't respond properly, Sapphire will pick up on the more mainstream Android phones, and not just Vertus.

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 19:38 3

13. istitch (Posts: 157; Member since: 19 Mar 2013)


you dont really need a diamond to scratch a sapphire glass, a sapphire glass will do

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 20:04 1

23. nctx77 (Posts: 435; Member since: 03 Sep 2013)


You gotta love them Android fanboys!

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 20:12 1

28. brasstax (Posts: 101; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


Yeah.. Apple was innovative when they changed the way smartphones were perceived in general. But that was back in 2007. They have long since been left in the dust of android phones. The alleged move to a 4.7 inch screen or maybe even a 5.5 inch screen is really innovative. Oh yeah.. The just unveiled ios 8 is the pinnacle of innovation.

And finally.. If the cost of procuring sapphire glass for something as big as the entire screen is off putting, Apple might as well stick to it's present 4 inch screen size. It's really not that much bigger than the home button & should be far more economical to produce in large quantities. Also the tiny size means, less chance of being brittle.

Customers can always carry a magnifying glass to view content or to play games

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 22:03 1

40. fzacek (Posts: 1122; Member since: 26 Jan 2014)


When has price ever stopped Apple? Expensive is Apple's middle name...

posted on 11 Jul 2014, 22:13

41. Napalm_3nema (Posts: 786; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)


I like how asking people from competitors legitimizes this. If these people could make this work, they probably would. The problem is, they can't do it in a cost-effective manner. The only company that does sapphire screens is Vertu, and cost is not an issue for them.

posted on 12 Jul 2014, 03:31

44. alumoyo (Posts: 139; Member since: 26 Aug 2013)


Those "counter arguments" stated in the article have been around for a while, so of course the challenges may have been overcome by now and the critics are simply not privy to the details yet. Its probably not 100% sapphire anyway so lets not get carried away. Vertu uses it on phones. Motorola used it on the Moto Aura phone a few years ago - so the the whole "its too hard, it wont work, it can't be done" thing? Think again. They say the Microsoft Surfaces has a "magnesium" chassis. But any high school chemistry student will tell you how volatile real magnesium is. So there is obviously a lot of work that goes on to make these materials usable for their intended purpose. Secondly, read this:

http://www.theverge.com/2014/5/6/5667618/supply-chained-apple-aluminum-and-sapphire

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