Fancy infographic explains why the new iPhones don't have sapphire glass

Fancy infographic explains why the new iPhones don't have sapphire glass
Towards the end of 2013, Apple signed a deal with GT Advanced Technologies that would see the former advance over half a billion bucks to the later, to be repaid over five years, beginning in 2015. Why? In order to accelerate the latter's progress in constructing a state-of-the-art production facility that will allow sapphire glass to be produced in mass quantities and cheaply.

As you can imagine, many construed that to mean that Apple is thinking of switching towards the extremely tough glass (tougher than Gorilla Glass) with the new iPhones. Now that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are a reality, however, it's obvious that we're not quite there yet, and Apple has instead used an ion-strengthened glass. There are a bunch of good reasons as to why that is, outlined in an attractive infographic, courtsey of VisualCapitalist. Take a peek at the gallery below to find out what those are, and check out our write-up on sapphire and how it compares with Corning's dominant Gorilla Glass.


Related phones

iPhone 6
  • Display 4.7" 750 x 1334 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
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  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 1810 mAh(14h 3G talk time)
iPhone 6 Plus
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A8, Dual-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 2915 mAh(24h 3G talk time)

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32 Comments

1. NexusPhan

Posts: 632; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

Forgot a very critical reason. Sapphire does not let as much light pass through as glass. This means that in order to have the same perceived brightness, the display will have to be much brighter, wasting precious battery.

8. engineer-1701d unregistered

no sapphire is much clearer then glass allowing for the light to pass better, anyways from how easy the phone breaks from 4 foot drop i think they should have used the sapphire.

16. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2488; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

While it's true it doesn't let as much light pass through, the difference is about less than 10% (Glass let's 90% of light through, Sapphire is about 83%). So yes the screen would have to be slightly brighter to be viewable, however the biggest problem with sapphire glass (in my opinion) is that it's very reflective. This would make outdoor viewing of the device very difficult. In fact, I don't think you would be able to view it at all unless you had some kind of filtered tint on top of the phone (which I then guess goes back to your point: you would need to have the display on full brightness in order to see anything through all of that).

2. enthasuium

Posts: 150; Member since: Nov 21, 2013

enough of excuses ....point is , apple failed to innovate. They cant innovate until others show them, Wait for Samsung , LG, HTC...they will do

4. Ketchapp

Posts: 23; Member since: Sep 04, 2014

See '64 Bit A7 Chip'

23. mas11

Posts: 1034; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

64-bit chips have been around for a while now. Putting one in a phone is hardly innovative

31. jacko1977

Posts: 428; Member since: Feb 11, 2012

And the chip isnt made by apple

7. gazmatic

Posts: 822; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

10. engineer-1701d unregistered

right hahahahah its only innovative if it works better then the original and be fully implemented

9. engineer-1701d unregistered

kyocera already did it.

29. vincelongman

Posts: 5761; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Yep, Kyocera Briagdier Also its only $99 on a 2 year contract The iPhone 6 starts at $199 on a 2 year contract The iPhone 6+ starts at $299 on a 2 year contract

18. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

in this instance, no iPhone, no Gorilla Glass. Corning had never made GG before Steve Jobs approached them.

3. istitch

Posts: 181; Member since: Mar 19, 2013

This is iPhone we're talking about, those who can afford it wouldn't have to look at the price as long as its apple

5. gazmatic

Posts: 822; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

I think apple should have made special models, like 100000 of the sapphire just to show that it is possible. Trust me, they would have sold out. All things equal, ram, cpu, etc and the only thing changed was the screen

11. ManusImperceptus

Posts: 724; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

Of course it would have sold. But what would they offer with the next iPhone then...? ;-)

13. engineer-1701d unregistered

sapphire screens have been done already by the top end phones and the low end kyocera brigade phone

6. dimas

Posts: 3422; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Apple's trying to up the profit by making their 2-year old technology phones hyped and expensive. Whatever crap they give to people, iDiots will definitely rip their own savings for the sake of owning an expensive toy.

19. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

You mean "two years ahead," right? The second iphone with a 64-bit ARM chip has shipped, and the number of Android models shipping with one is still zero (5433 isn't 64-bit enabled).

24. maherk

Posts: 7029; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Apple are two years ahead? Just because they used the 64-bit ARM chip? Which they still didn't manage to utilize it well!! Please don't tell me that the 720p 4.7" screen, dual core cpu, 1gb of ram, 8mp camera, and the HTC One like design are two years ahead of its competition?

32. Iodine

Posts: 1505; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Assuming a 64-bit is not utilized well only because there isn't 4GB of RAM is as foolish as it can get. First 4GB can be used by 32-bit system and second, no computer on earth "utilizes well" 64-bit, because they don't use even a tiny fraction of that 16 billions of GB of RAM it allows according to your logic. Apple got developers and they are migrating powerfull apps to 64-bit and other modern technologies so fast it's hard to imagine, while android is taking a break on the starting line, doing nothing with 64-bit so far. And I am telling you that an UVL-photo aligned Liquid crystal layer and subpixel layer to reach very high contrat and viewing angles, the lowest-power LTPS technologies to bring brightness to very high levels, the improved polarizer so you can actually see something on your phone with polarizing sunglasses, better integrated touch layer for lower reflectivity and great sunlight readability, all in a ultra thin panel that frees up more space for battery and many other improvements all of that brought to mass production so everyone can buy it deffinitelly isn't a 2012 technology.

25. maherk

Posts: 7029; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Apple are two years ahead? Just because they used the 64-bit ARM chip? Which they still didn't manage to utilize it well!! Please don't tell me that the 720p 4.7" screen, dual core cpu, 1gb of ram, 8mp camera, and the HTC One like design are two years ahead of its competition?

12. slh163

Posts: 140; Member since: May 19, 2014

you mean a "appel fanboy infographic"

14. mr2009

Posts: 34; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

Gorilla Glass 3 is only 6.8 on Mohs rating? why not get tempered glass manufacturer to supply those screen instead of corning? most tempered glass has Mohs rating of 9 too...

15. seanwhat

Posts: 321; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

gorilla glass is more than hard enough (scratch resistant). phone screens don't need to be any harder really, who gets scratches on their phones these days?. The issue is how brittle the material is, and sapphire is a lot more brittle than gorilla glass (ie will break easier when dropped). almost all phones with a messed up screen are that way because they're cracked, not scratched. I'd take gorilla glass over sapphire any day.

17. Armchair_Commentator

Posts: 222; Member since: May 08, 2014

Exactly I really don't get it, I don't know many people who keep diamonds in their pocket, Keys I can understand but even my old note 2 never had a screen protector and the face was still pristine 2 years later when I traded it in. And if you do place it in a case, most manufacturers add .2-.3 mm lip on the front of the phone so it can sit off the surface.

22. seanwhat

Posts: 321; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

maybe girls who keep their phones in their bag and take off their diamond engagement ring when they go out because they don't want other guys to know they're engaged, and put that in their bag too? but then those cheaters probably deserve to have a scratched up screen D: Sapphire glass is purely a marketing thing. It really saddens me how much 'stuff' goes into phones and the like which are just for marketing purposes and do very little, or nothing, for the consumer. If anything time wasted on r&d like this is slowing actual progress.

20. superfans

Posts: 155; Member since: Jul 30, 2012

Lol, apple is having a hard times giving us a 2gb ram , what make you think they can put a sapphire in iphone.

21. swiekekodok

Posts: 58; Member since: Jul 19, 2014

We want more for $1000 device......

26. ciprian.ruse

Posts: 320; Member since: May 13, 2014

They need 1000 infographics to explain the lack of everything iPhone doesn't have.

27. p51d007

Posts: 705; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

Doesn't matter if it is gorilla or sapphire. BOTH are a "glass" Hard to SCRATCH, but, sapphire is EASIER to shatter. Drop either on on a devices edge, and vibration from the impact will travel the length of the glass substrate, shattering it. Both are scratch "resistant" but neither one is shatter resistant.

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