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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:08 PM   #1
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Apple Experimented with Sapphire Crystal Displays, Found Them Infeasible




Back in March, an MIT report*suggested that Apple and other smartphone manufacturers could potentially switch to sapphire crystal displays rather than the standard Gorilla Glass displays currently in use.

As it turns out, Apple has already experimented with sapphire screens. In an interview with Swiss news site Tages-Anzeiger*[Google Translation], Vertu COO Perry Oosting revealed that Apple investigated the possibility of a sapphire display, recruiting an unspecified number of Vertu employees to work on the project.

Vertu is a British company that produces luxury cell phones, some with sapphire displays, and at least two former Vertu employees appear to have joined Apple in the last year.

According to Oosting, Apple ultimately shelved the sapphire project because the material is unsuitable for production in the numbers that Apple requires at the current point in time. Corning, the company that manufacturers Gorilla Glass 3 for Apple's displays, has also stated that sapphire is an inferior option for mobile displays.

The company believes that Gorilla Glass offers greater strength, lower weight, less energy cost in production, and lower pricing; all important features for mass manufactured products.

Though Apple may not have current plans to utilize sapphire displays, it has incorporated sapphire crystal into the iPhone, as a cover for the rear camera on the fifth generation iPhone. Rumors have suggested that sapphire may also be used as part of the home button in the iPhone 5S.

(Thanks, Rainer!)

Article Link: Apple Experimented with Sapphire Crystal Displays, Found Them Infeasible
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:10 PM   #2
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:11 PM   #3
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I don't want my screen to look like that.
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:12 PM   #4
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at the current point in time.
Emphasis.

That could change in 9 months, or in 3 years, or never.
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:13 PM   #5
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Interesting!

Not that it matters, but just for the sake of correctness... Tages Anzeiger is a Swiss newspaper, not German.
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:14 PM   #6
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I'm sure Apple tries just about everything. I wouldn't be surprised to find out they experimented with just about any substance.
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:15 PM   #7
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Corning, the company that manufacturers Gorilla Glass 3 for Apple's displays, has also stated that sapphire is an inferior option for mobile displays.
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:16 PM   #8
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It is not very likely that sapphire would be used for the home button, as a scratched one would still function. Scratches on the lens however do affect the camera function.
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:18 PM   #9
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They may be researching it for wearable devices, not just iPhone.

.
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:20 PM   #10
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They may be researching it for wearable devices, not just iPhone.

.

Like iWatch.
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:20 PM   #11
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Interesting!

Not that it matters, but just for the sake of correctness... Tages Anzeiger is a Swiss newspaper, not German.
To the Swiss it matters a lot! (Schona Grussen au di Schweiz!)
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:20 PM   #12
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Emphasis.

That could change in 9 months, or in 3 years, or never.
Yeah, I read it as Apple needs some time to invest in whoever's infrastructure before it can get going. They didn't put it on the camera lens because it was for fun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BornAgainMac View Post
I don't want my screen to look like that.
I don't even know why they'd show that. We're talking about synthetic sapphire. A shot of the 5's camera would be more appropriate.
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:21 PM   #13
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They may be researching it for wearable devices, not just iPhone.

.
My expectation as well.
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:22 PM   #14
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:25 PM   #15
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Sapphire is extremely scratch resistant. It's also very brittle.
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:27 PM   #16
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iPhone 5

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRumors View Post
Though Apple may not have current plans to utilize sapphire displays, it has incorporated sapphire crystal into the iPhone, as a cover for the rear camera on the fifth generation iPhone.
iPhone 5 is actually the sixth generation iPhone.
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:27 PM   #17
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I'm puzzled as to why they looked at this in the first place - compared to gorilla glass, it doesn't seem to have many advantages...
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:33 PM   #18
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I'm puzzled as to why they looked at this in the first place - compared to gorilla glass, it doesn't seem to have many advantages...
higher scratch resistance.
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:33 PM   #19
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I'd love a sapphire crystal display and would be willing to pay a premium to get it.

It's what my Rolex uses and there's not a single scratch..
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:36 PM   #20
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My Omega watch has Saphire Crystal and I have it for almost 20 years after a lot of abuse without a single scratch. Pretty amazing. Great material.
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:37 PM   #21
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Wow I went a checked out those Vertu phones. Very impressive. Never new there were luxury cell phones. $1250 for a phone is a little crazy but they are very nicely designed.
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:37 PM   #22
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I hope they're not just taking Corning's word for it.
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:45 PM   #23
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My Omega watch has Saphire Crystal and I have it for almost 20 years after a lot of abuse without a single scratch. Pretty amazing. Great material.

probably, but i bet there are a lot more iphones out in the world than omega watches. and the iphone display has to do a lot more.

its one thing building a demo unit. totally another manufacturing tens of millions of units for sale at prices people will pay
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:49 PM   #24
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It is not very likely that sapphire would be used for the home button, as a scratched one would still function. Scratches on the lens however do affect the camera function.
If the home button would include a fingerprint scanner it might well be useful.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Four oF NINE View Post
I'd love a sapphire crystal display and would be willing to pay a premium to get it.

It's what my Rolex uses and there's not a single scratch..
They still go out of fashion though, scratched or not.
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 12:53 PM   #25
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They still go out of fashion though, scratched or not.
A Rolex never goes out of fashion!
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