Apple receives patent for sapphire glass

Apple receives patent for sapphire glass
Apple has received a patent for the cutting and processing of sapphire wafers so that the material can be used in consumer electronics. Sapphires are the second hardest material on earth after diamonds, and Apple is said to be giving serious thought to replacing Gorilla Glass with a sapphire screen. Recently, contract manufacturer Foxconn revealed that it had made 100 prototypes of the next-generation iPhone wearing a sapphire display.

Apple's patent application reveals that it could use sapphire glass as a display for the Apple iPhone

Apple's patent application reveals that it could use sapphire glass as a display for the Apple iPhone

While the hardness of sapphires makes it great for a smartphone screen, it also makes it hard to cut the material. Apple will have to use strong, powerful lasers to cut the sapphire material to its specifications. The patent covers the process by which Apple grows and harvests the material, and polishes them. That also includes the use of lasers to cut them. The wafers are then decorated and cut into windows. Currently, Apple employs sapphire as a camera lens cover on the Apple iPhone 5s and as a protective glass to the TouchID fingerprint sensor on the same phone.

When decorating the polished sapphire wafers, they can be coated with the anti-fingerprint oleophobic covering, or covered with an ink mask for a printed circuit board. 

source: USPTO via AppleInsider

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24 Comments

1. GeekMovement unregistered

an anti-fingerprint screen would be AMAZING.

5. ocilfa

Posts: 334; Member since: Aug 03, 2012

I'm a custodian, and I approve this post.

8. NexusPhan

Posts: 632; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

Hmmm. I see a potential disaster here. I believe Sapphire used for screens would be much more brittle than the glass currently used in most high end smartphones (pretty basic stuff here; increase hardness and it increases how brittle it is). We already have a problem with screens breaking because the glass is already too brittle. Now have a screen that's even more brittle and costs $350 to replace? Doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

9. darkkjedii

Posts: 30781; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

The only reason you see a disaster, is because it's apple. If it were google, Samsung, LG etc, you'd have no issue with it. Give it a rest dude.

12. nothingmuch

Posts: 201; Member since: May 03, 2013

Jedi, nexusphan has the right idea, just as tempered glass is strong enough for cars and strong enough to hold a AV receiver on glass stereo shelves, it shatters like nothing else, all it needs is the right tap, and knives hardened with titanium break if you drop them blade point first onto the ground unlike 440 steel which is abit more flexible on the breaking point. Harder glass is more brittle under the right circumstances, sapphire glass will have undergo all the stresses of clumsy everyday people in which another company has almost perfected like Gorilla glass, they have the right direction with hardness and flexibility which is crucial for something that is portable, just watch some vids on the next gen gorilla glass 3 on YouTube and lets try that on sapphire, for as thin as they have to make for the competition, they would be best if to layer it like safety glass.

14. alpinejason

Posts: 262; Member since: Sep 06, 2011

gorilla glass perfected??? ha ha that's a good one

15. darkkjedii

Posts: 30781; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Trust me nothing much, he is not posting that in defense of Apple he is posting that to attack Apple. As I said before that this was Google or Samsung or LG he'd have no issue with it, but I do see your point. Also Apple is not investing in this because it is unbreakable, they're very aware that sapphire is not unbreakable. Apple is investing in this because it's a tough far more durable more scratch resistant glass. Everybody knows that if you drop a cell phone right on its face from the right height at the right angle the glass is going to break

17. EclipseGSX

Posts: 1770; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

You're so paranoid, if anyone says anything slighting negative on an Apple article you go ballistic and think they are attacking them. He didn't even mention them specifically so stop being so sensitive, it's very annoying.

22. deewinc

Posts: 454; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

Jeddi Jeddi, you should be in the courtrooms defending Apple, not here to someone who has not even mentioned Apple in the first place. Tone done down or else your blood pressure is up for the rooftop.

10. Dastrix unregistered

"Sapphires are the second hardest material on earth after diamonds." I don't think that brittleness would be a problem here. Sapphire is still harder than glass regardless, so that property holds. Besides, sapphire usage in smartphones has a long history, and dates back to the early 2000s. A notable example would be in the Nokia 8800 Arte Editions. Apple has a good reason to use it and it makes sense.

13. nothingmuch

Posts: 201; Member since: May 03, 2013

16. GeekMovement unregistered

Honestly I wouldn't care whether the glass is sapphire or gorilla glass or whatever as long as it is capable of the innovative feature of resisting fingerprints (:

18. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Sapphire is more resistant to both scratches and breaking than glass.

2. Finalflash

Posts: 4062; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Damn, they really are trying to drum up this glass business.

3. Kuroki

Posts: 183; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

Apple train on the way!!! SUE! SUE!

4. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Using sapphire for an entire 5-inch diagonal measurement screen would seem to be incredibly expensive. Props to Apple if they are able to get the cost of a sapphire screen down to GG3 level.

6. aditya.k

Posts: 496; Member since: Mar 10, 2013

$2000 for iPhone 6 16GB. Damn! I still don't understand how you can get a patent for this. Eff this sh*t!

20. aksa123

Posts: 365; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

If it's bulletproof then I woulnt mind :D

7. tenzin

Posts: 111; Member since: Dec 20, 2013

Stolen idea from Ubuntu touch project, well done!

11. darkkjedii

Posts: 30781; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Who cares

19. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

No way! Apple is the most innovative company in the world and it copies no one.

21. vincelongman

Posts: 5601; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Or the many Vertu phones

23. REXTECH

Posts: 15; Member since: Dec 04, 2013

iPhone 17, titanium body with diamonds all over and mind reading unlock.

24. danielchow

Posts: 3; Member since: Apr 25, 2014

IPHONE5/5S Sapphire Protector is not expensive so much,It is only 40$ around.If any new need sapphire phone glass or sapphire camera glass,pls contact me.

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