Ceramic vs composite - any real benefit?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by I am Sampson, Oct 18, 2014.

  1. I am Sampson macrumors 6502

    I am Sampson

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Location:
    Plymouth, UK
    #1
    I suspect I'll get the sport watch due to price, but still trying to compare features in the unlikely event the steel model up is not too much more.

    I can't seem to find any real discussion in the "ceramic back". Is it a visual thing? A feel thing? Something that really doesn't matter?
    Simply can't work out if it's a feature to consider as justification for x amount more money or just pointless.
     
  2. Julien, Oct 18, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2014

    Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #2
    All HR sensors are made of composite. The Watch and Edition have a ceramic coating over the composite sensor. The Sport doesn't have this coating.


    EDIT: Just to add this is not a huge expense or adds much to the price. The ceramic coating will insure the sensor doesn't wear over prolonged use. It could be deemed as circumstantial evidence that the Watch and Edition could have replaceable S chips/batt and are expected to be long term investments. While the Sport is just a 2 to 4 year watch, since the sensor could wear down without the protective coating.
     
  3. Defender2010, Oct 18, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2014

    Defender2010 macrumors 68030

    Defender2010

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Location:
    England
    #3
    Isn't this just the finish on the rear circular part? Surely the sensors are covered by 4 circles of sapphire like the iPhone iSight lens?? I imagine the ceramic rear is a little more expensive to make than the composite one. Composite would also be lighter for the sports edition models.
    Edit: it's actually zirconia on the back. Here is more info. Jony says zirconia in the Apple Watch video.

    http://www.precision-ceramics.com/3-reasons-apple-used-zirconia-ceramic-in-the-iwatch/

    Apple says the lens covers are sapphire.
    https://www.apple.com/uk/watch/technology/

    Sports model doesn't have sapphire lenses- (taken from Apples website)

    "1. Sport models have a composite back with hard-coated optical polymer lenses."
     
  4. Piggie macrumors 604

    Piggie

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    #4
    Don't worry as long as it lasts a year till the next model then all good :)
     
  5. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #5
    Good to know there is an additional differentiator than just the ceramic coating. While I'm still vacillating on the upgradable innards, adding sapphire lenses and then coating the sensor in ceramic will make it durable for decades.

    Obviously the exposes plastic lenses in the Sport are not made to last in the long run and are more in line with typical Smart Watches and inexpensive watch construction techniques .
     
  6. Defender2010 macrumors 68030

    Defender2010

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Location:
    England
    #6
    Why do you say that? The sport watches composite and polymer lenses should be very durable too...plus lighter, perhaps this is why they used them! Also. partly due to cost, partly due to weight - but I wouldn't say composite and polymer would last less than the others, esp as this part is against your wrist, so less prone to damage. Time will tell I guess...
     
  7. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #7
    You are over reading. Plastic is the most minimalist material you can make a lens out of. While they may last for many years it is still just plastic.

    Sapphire is the 2ed hardest material known and a ceramic coating will not wear through for MANY decades if ever. It is also heat, acid (sweat is very acidic and can eat into plastic), corrosion and water resistant.


    What I'm saying is the ceramic coated sapphire sensor is built to last a lifetime.

    The Sport's sensor is made to last will past it's Lith-ion's battery life and is more than adequate.
     
  8. Piggie macrumors 604

    Piggie

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    #8
    I guess the puzzle is.
    And what's the point of this in Apple's watch?

    Especially the very 1st model?

    More "Marketing" than anything else I'd guess.
     
  9. mtmac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    #9
    The point of it is, the ss and gold models are built to last a lifetime because Apple will continue to upgrade and support them for decades, if not longer. You're right in that it is marketing, as selling expensive watches is much easier if people that buy them can have them upgraded. Just like a swiss watch needs to be cleaned and oiled, this watch will need battery and chip upgrades.
     
  10. Piggie macrumors 604

    Piggie

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    #10
    You really really REALLY think The Apple watch will physically look the same with the same shape for Decades?

    Really! :D

    And as for the SS models. You know how Cheap Stainless Steel is?
    A few dollars worth.
     
  11. SHNXX macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    #11
    i'm pretty sure that the Watch version will look better with stainless steel and sapphire.
     
  12. EdisEdward macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    #12
    so no one else is worried about the composite backing on the sport? is it not more prone to scratches? and it will be as accurate as the ceramic backing?
     
  13. GrumpyMom macrumors 603

    GrumpyMom

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    #13
    I'm not sure if the zirconia ceramic backing in the Apple Watch and edition are exactly the same thing, but I have read that some dental implants are now starting to be made of zirconia ceramic material. Nothing is completely guaranteed to never cause allergic reactions in every single person, but its use in such an application did reassure me about wearing it against my skin for prolonged periods of time. I sometimes get allergic contact dermatitis to some materials. I'm not as allergic as some people I know, but enough to be cautious about this purchase and to have read up a little bit about what the watches were made of.

    It did bug me that I never really found out what the composition of the Sport watch back is exactly. But I had asked a forum member who had been to a fitting if there was all that much difference in the way the different watch backs feel against the skin and was told there isn't, really.
     
  14. sahilpatel12 macrumors 6502a

    sahilpatel12

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2011
    Location:
    Merica
    #14
    yeah was wondering also, any long term effects or perk? for that
     
  15. dotnet macrumors 6502a

    dotnet

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2015
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #15
    "Composite" is just a fancy way of saying the Watch Sport has a plastic back. I don't think that this is reason for concern, Apple will have chosen high-grade materials that will be more than fit for the purpose. It's just not "jewellery grade".
     
  16. apple_iBoy, Apr 29, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2015

    apple_iBoy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #16
    This isn't actually true, but is at risk of becoming "common knowledge" based on how frequently it's being repeated.

    If you're talking "mineral" materials, sapphire would probably in 3rd place, not 2nd. And if you're talking materials in general, there are a bunch of other materials that rank higher in hardness. Some are fairly exotic, some are as commonplace as silicon carbide.

    Where sapphire ranks in 2nd place is in the category of transparent (visible light range) materials. Important caveat. Turns out there are a bunch of things that can conceivably scratch that watch face, they just happen to not be transparent objects!

    In general, I wouldn't worry much about your sapphire crystal scratching under normal conditions, for most people. Obviously YMMV depending on what kind of stuff you get into in your line of work or your hobbies! Sapphire comes in at about 9 on the Mohs hardness scale. There are a bunch of things that are at or above that level. Your corundum-studded sandpaper from Lowe's can very conceivably scratch that surface, given the right application. But again, for everyday use for most people, it's far beyond adequate scratch resistance.

    ----------

    Since they're calling it composite, that at least indicates that it's not just some injection-molded piece of plastic junk. A composite is multiple materials combined together in such a way that they essentially function as one. Typical forms are particles or fibers embedded in a surrounding matrix, or a laminar stack of alternating materials. Two examples of composites are CFRE (carbon fiber-reinforced epoxy) and GFRE (glass fiber-reinforced epoxy), which most people usually just call "carbon fiber" and "fiberglass," somewhat erroneously. This composite plate on the watch is probably some sort of fiber- or particulate-strengthened polymer, and I imagine it'll still be around in one piece long after we're all cold in the ground.

    I agree with you that the material used for the back plate is perfectly up to the task, and will not be the ultimate source of failure or breakdown in this design. The ceramic back found on the higher end watches probably has a more premium "feel" but functionally I can't imagine there's any advantage.
     
  17. jjlannoo Suspended

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2011
    #17
    A bigger concern is the lack of a sapphire crystal up front. That's worth the $200 difference
     
  18. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030

    ReallyBigFeet

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    #18
    Depends really. I view the Apple Watches as disposable and about as durable as a Casio G-shock device. Marketing hype aside, they really are pretty fragile electronic devices. Even if they last longer than 2 years, Apple isn't in the business of selling hardware at this price point meant to have a highly usable life beyond 3-4 years.

    Its an iPhone accessory more than its a watch. As such, its designed to be replaced frequently. Thus...who really cares how durable the device is? Apple views it as disposable and so do I. The rest of the messaging is just...marketing spin to portray the normal as something magical.
     
  19. dotnet macrumors 6502a

    dotnet

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2015
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #19
    It is most definitely not a piece of plastic junk.

    I wouldn't presume to know what Apple views it as, but I suspect they regard its main role as to ensure continued iPhone sales. Having bought an Apple Watch in April will make you much more likely to pick up a new iPhone in October (or at least stick with the one you have), instead of going for an HTC or something similar. And vice versa, of course. Getting a new iPhone in October will make you much more likely to get the Apple Watch 2 when it comes out, instead of a different smartwatch.

    Anybody is willing dump cheap accessories without much ado when thinking about jumping ship, but having two expensive gadgets tied together as accessories to each other makes this much trickier.
     

Share This Page