Apple Details Uses for Sapphire Glass in New Patent Application

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 23, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    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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    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.

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    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
     
  2. Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #2
    Lets hope this makes iPad screens that much more durable. I find my rMini's screen to be very thin
     
  3. macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Liquidmetal

    The second material could be the liquidmetal alloy they've been researching.
     
  4. macrumors 65816

    Santabean2000

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    #4
    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.
     
  5. macrumors newbie

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    #5
    I second that thought

    ....yep, liquid metal, I'd bet on it.
     
  6. macrumors regular

    moxin

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    #6
    hummm, curved screen? edge to edge? This could be anything.
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 3, 2012
    #7
    My 10 year old watch with saphhire glass still has no scratches on the glass.
    I was not carefull at all...
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

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    Canada
    #8
    So... Apple just patented the dove tail joint? ;)
     
  9. macrumors 65816

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    Connecticut
    #9
    Those Mazdas are stronger than they look.
     
  10. macrumors 65816

    Tankmaze

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    #10
    that is interesting, apple could come back to the iphone 4 design for the iphone 6 with sapphire glass front and back.
     
  11. macrumors 68030

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    #11
    This just in:
    SAMSUNG application designer just made 200 sketches of a sapphire lens.
     
  12. macrumors regular

    tigertazz

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    #12
    And the cost goes up.......
    iFixit repair ability score 0. LOL
     
  13. macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #13
    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?
     
  14. macrumors 65816

    Gudi

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    #14
    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. :D
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

    AppleWarMachine

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    #15
    Mine too :D (but it's only 5 years old)
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Another ridiculous patent....:rolleyes:
     
  17. macrumors G5

    gnasher729

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    #17
    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.

    ----------

    You've never bought a good watch, have you?
     
  18. macrumors 68000

    69Mustang

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    #18
    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.
     
  19. macrumors 65816

    Gudi

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    #19
    Is it significantly less breakable under the same circumstances the iPhone 4 glass shattered?
    That's all I'm asking for. :confused:

    If it is thinner and lighter the reduced weight alone might help to prevent fatal accidents.
     
  20. macrumors 68000

    69Mustang

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    #20
    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:eek:
     
  21. macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #21
    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?
     
  22. macrumors 65816

    Four oF NINE

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    #22
    My wristwatch has a sapphire crystal lens and there's not a single scratch on it.
    It's about 15 years old now.
     
  23. macrumors 68030

    mdelvecchio

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    #23
    yes, so ridiculous because it's so obvious and everyone's doing it. when's the innovation begin?

    etc, etc. puhleez.
     
  24. macrumors 68000

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    #24
    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.
     
  25. macrumors 65816

    Gudi

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    #25
    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.
    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.
    Don't. I'm the one mixing up less breakable and unbreakable. I'm sorry. :)
     

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