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Old Jan 23, 2014, 06:55 AM   #1
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Apple Details Uses for Sapphire Glass in New Patent Application




An Apple patent application detailing methods of using and mounting sapphire to mobile devices was published today by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, reports AppleInsider. Entitled "Attachment Techniques", the application describes a system in which sapphire could act a display's cover glass, and also gives insight as to how the material could be used to dissipate heat generated by a device.

The patent application introduces itself by describing the difficulty in attaching sapphire to existing materials, and also notes the current implementation of sapphire as a cover for the rear camera on the iPhone. Apple suggests effective methods for using sapphire as a cover glass would involve creating an aperture within a sapphire substrate, and then using a second material with a lower melting point like metal or plastic to pour into the aperture. The joining of the substrate and the filling of the second material would then act as attachment point for other materials that can be welded, soldered, or secured.

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The aperture formed in the substrate may have one or more securing features to help hold the second material within the aperture. For example, the aperture may have one or more tapered sidewalls. Alternatively, or additionally, the aperture may have a notch or step in one or more sidewalls. In still other embodiments, an interior surface of the aperture may be threaded or include a lip or protrusion that serves as a securing feature. It should be appreciated that other securing features may be implemented and, further, that multiple securing features may be used in conjunction.
Apple also describes how sapphire could be used as a heat spreader because of the similarity in the material's thermal conductivity levels to that of metals. Apple further states that sapphire could be attached mechanically and thermally to a processor to dissipate heat.

Presently, Apple uses small pieces of sapphire glass to protect the cameras on the iPhone and on the home button for the Touch ID-equipped iPhone 5s. However, the company has also shown a strong interest in perhaps expanding its use of the material in its products, announcing plans last November to build a sapphire glass manufacturing plant in Arizona. GT Advanced, Apple's manufacturing partner for the plant, also sent out postcards to local residents this week advertising for open positions at the new facility.

A report from June 2013 also stated that Apple experimented with sapphire crystal displays but found them infeasible, with Vertu COO Perry Oosting stating that Apple felt that the material was unsuitable for production in the numbers that Apple required. It was reported last March that future smartphone displays may use sapphire instead of glass, with all major mobile phone said to be considering the use of the material.

The patent application, which was originally filed on July 19, 2012 and published today, lists Dale N. Memering, Matthew D. Hill, Christopher D. Prest, David A. Pakula, Tang Yew Tan, Stephen B. Lynch, and Fletcher Rothkopf as its inventors. As with all of Apple's patents and patent applications, it is unclear when and if the exact technology described will make it into a final product.

Article Link: Apple Details Uses for Sapphire Glass in New Patent Application
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 06:59 AM   #2
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Lets hope this makes iPad screens that much more durable. I find my rMini's screen to be very thin
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 07:06 AM   #3
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Liquidmetal

The second material could be the liquidmetal alloy they've been researching.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 07:17 AM   #4
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My wife ran over her iP5 in a Mazda3 - and it survived. Big scratches to the back, but that little lens cover held strong.

That sapphire glass is no marketing gimmick.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 07:19 AM   #5
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I second that thought

....yep, liquid metal, I'd bet on it.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 07:20 AM   #6
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hummm, curved screen? edge to edge? This could be anything.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 07:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Santabean2000 View Post
That sapphire glass is no marketing gimmick.
My 10 year old watch with saphhire glass still has no scratches on the glass.
I was not carefull at all...
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 07:36 AM   #8
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So... Apple just patented the dove tail joint?
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 07:40 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Santabean2000 View Post
My wife ran over her iP5 in a Mazda3 - and it survived. Big scratches to the back.....
Those Mazdas are stronger than they look.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 08:14 AM   #10
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Apple also describes how sapphire could be used as a heat spreader because of the similarity in the material's thermal conductivity levels to that of metals.
that is interesting, apple could come back to the iphone 4 design for the iphone 6 with sapphire glass front and back.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 08:34 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Takeo View Post
So... Apple just patented the dove tail joint?
This just in:
SAMSUNG application designer just made 200 sketches of a sapphire lens.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 08:39 AM   #12
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And the cost goes up.......
iFixit repair ability score 0. LOL
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 08:54 AM   #13
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And the cost goes up.......
iFixit repair ability score 0. LOL
Seems someone didn't own a watch with sapphire glass.

When did Apple actually increased the price of iPhone? Did the iPhone 5s with finger print scanner "cost" more than the iPhone 5 launch price?
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 09:10 AM   #14
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Apple might have found the perfect cellphone casing material (finally).

scratch resistant
unbreakable
signal transparent
heat spreading

Sorry iPhone 3, 4 and 5 owners, but you had to act as our guinea pigs. Now we know that plastic, glas and aluminum aren't the right materials.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 09:19 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Nozuka View Post
My 10 year old watch with saphhire glass still has no scratches on the glass.
I was not carefull at all...
Mine too (but it's only 5 years old)
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 09:28 AM   #16
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Another ridiculous patent....
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 09:50 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nozuka View Post
My 10 year old watch with saphhire glass still has no scratches on the glass.
I was not carefull at all...
Mine is slightly older, and no scratches on the glass. The only time I took it off for work when I had to use a jackhammer to break up a few square meters of concrete.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by tigertazz View Post
And the cost goes up.......
iFixit repair ability score 0. LOL
You've never bought a good watch, have you?
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 09:57 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gudi View Post
Apple might have found the perfect cellphone casing material (finally).

scratch resistant
unbreakable
signal transparent
heat spreading

Sorry iPhone 3, 4 and 5 owners, but you had to act as our guinea pigs. Now we know that plastic, glas and aluminum aren't the right materials.
Although I applaud your enthusiasm, and sapphire is a great material, unbreakable is not one of it's properties. That is just a bit of hyperbole.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 10:26 AM   #19
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Although I applaud your enthusiasm, and sapphire is a great material, unbreakable is not one of it's properties. That is just a bit of hyperbole.
Is it significantly less breakable under the same circumstances the iPhone 4 glass shattered?
That's all I'm asking for.

If it is thinner and lighter the reduced weight alone might help to prevent fatal accidents.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 10:57 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Gudi View Post
Is it significantly less breakable under the same circumstances the iPhone 4 glass shattered?
That's all I'm asking for.

If it is thinner and lighter the reduced weight alone might help to prevent fatal accidents.
I feel like I am attacking you and I promise I'm not. Is it less breakable? Yes, according to everything I've read. Less breakable is not unbreakable; which you said in your original post.

"... might help prevent fatal accidents." More hyperbole. What fatal accidents? I am not sure what point you're trying to make. We both agree the sapphire could possibly be a great thing for Apple. Projecting miracle status on the material is not necessary.

I am going to switch to decaf. Maybe that will change my mood. Sorry
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 11:13 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nozuka View Post
My 10 year old watch with saphhire glass still has no scratches on the glass.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gudi View Post
If it is thinner and lighter the reduced weight alone might help to prevent fatal accidents.
Note that watch crystals are much thicker than smartphone glass layers.

A good sapphire watch crystal is about 5mm thick, so it won't shatter if dropped.

The Gorilla Glass 2 used to protect smartphone displays is only 0.8mm thick. That's about six times thinner. GG is also 1/2 the weight and 1/10th the cost.

All that said, hasn't Apple been filing patents about bonding very thin sapphire to glass? Sapphire for scratch resistance, glass for price and thickness reduction, and the duo for strength?
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 11:49 AM   #22
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My wristwatch has a sapphire crystal lens and there's not a single scratch on it.
It's about 15 years old now.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 12:02 PM   #23
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Another ridiculous patent....
yes, so ridiculous because it's so obvious and everyone's doing it. when's the innovation begin?

etc, etc. puhleez.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 12:11 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdarling View Post
Note that watch crystals are much thicker than smartphone glass layers.

A good sapphire watch crystal is about 5mm thick, so it won't shatter if dropped.

The Gorilla Glass 2 used to protect smartphone displays is only 0.8mm thick. That's about six times thinner. GG is also 1/2 the weight and 1/10th the cost.

All that said, hasn't Apple been filing patents about bonding very thin sapphire to glass? Sapphire for scratch resistance, glass for price and thickness reduction, and the duo for strength?
Apple first drives down the price of sapphire by being a partner to volume production. Corning might get an exclusive contract from Apple, limited in timeframe and scope, to produce what you are describing. At some point, wouldn't Apple want to just own display manufacturing outright?

What's next? Metal matrix composites?

This is an advantage of Apple, Samsung and Sony; they have interest in materials science, in Apple's case, driven by Jony's need for new materials to work with.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 01:31 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by 69Mustang View Post
I feel like I am attacking you and I promise I'm not.
Correcting someones inaccuracies, can never be wrong. You are not attacking me personally, but what I've written. That is perfectly fine and even necessary.
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"... might help prevent fatal accidents." More hyperbole. What fatal accidents? I am not sure what point you're trying to make.
A harder material like glass is harder to scratch and easier to break compared to a softer material like aluminum, which is easier to scratch but harder to break. When glas shatters the damage is arguably more severe than a simple scratch, especially when the display is glued to the front panel and needs to be replaced as well. So ideally you want a material that doesn't scratch and doesn't break. Sapphire could be the answer, I hope.
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I am going to switch to decaf. Maybe that will change my mood. Sorry.
Don't. I'm the one mixing up less breakable and unbreakable. I'm sorry.
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