What's the deal with sapphire glass, or is it all just hype?

Newtons Apple

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Mar 12, 2014
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I do not think it is all hype as they purchased a huge amount of equipment to make sapphire glass. What they are going to do with it, we do not know. Right now it covers only the current iPhone's camera, some think the whole screen will be made out of the material.

One of the posters in this forum think they might make the entire outer case out of sapphire. That is not going to happen.
 

goobot

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Jun 26, 2009
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long island NY
I do not think it is all hype as they purchased a huge amount of equipment to make sapphire glass. What they are going to do with it, we do not know. Right now it covers only the current iPhone's camera, some think the whole screen will be made out of the material.

One of the posters in this forum think they might make the entire outer case out of sapphire. That is not going to happen.
It covers the home button too.
 

kingalexthe1st

macrumors 6502
Apr 13, 2013
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Sapphire is second in hardness only to diamond. So basically, unless you attack it with an engagement ring it will remain scuff-free. This is good for a camera lens, for obvious reasons, and I guess the new touch ID benefits from a smooth surface to read your fingerprints from. If Apple were to make the entire front screen from sapphire then it would certainly add to the premium feel of it, being scratch-free and all, but it would be expensive. So it's not entirely hype, but I'm sure it will certainly be used in the marketing.

Alex
 

cynics

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Jan 8, 2012
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I do not think it is all hype as they purchased a huge amount of equipment to make sapphire glass. What they are going to do with it, we do not know. Right now it covers only the current iPhone's camera, some think the whole screen will be made out of the material.



One of the posters in this forum think they might make the entire outer case out of sapphire. That is not going to happen.

I believe that was a "what if" thread not that he/she believed it actually would be entirely sapphire.
 

Yakibomb

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May 13, 2014
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Sapphire is second in hardness only to diamond. So basically, unless you attack it with an engagement ring it will remain scuff-free.
Yes but at what cost. True it might be much harder than Gorilla Glass so less prone to scratches, but that hardness comes at a cost. The harder a material is the easier it shatters. This isn't really an issue when used in small areas such as to cover the camera lens or touchID, but when covering the entire screen is covered I think issues may arise. But we never know, :apple: may have found away around this :rolleyes:
 

Powrie

macrumors 6502
Sep 14, 2012
271
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Have you heard of Mohs hardness scale ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohs_scale_of_mineral_hardness


Well Sapphire is a very hard material that scales in just under Diamond.

So that makes it much harder then Glass. But just because something is hard does not mean it wont break. Sapphire will still shatter.

Its major pro is that it is very resistant to scratches because its so hard. And its slightly less prone to shattering then glass.

So its not unbreakable, but it will be scratch free.
 

GalvaJ

macrumors regular
Oct 28, 2011
211
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Smh waste of time. IMO.
Having a screen that will most likely not scratch over its life time is a waste of time?

I hope Apple does this. Knock on wood, I've never dropped a phone or broken a screen but I have had a little scratch on my screen once that did annoy me even though I could barely see it. I'll definitely enjoy having a sapphire crystal display on my next iPhone.
 

ET iPhone Home

macrumors 68040
Oct 5, 2011
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Orange County, California USA
Sapphire crystal is the cover of choice for premium watches. It is the most expensive type of crystal and is three times harder than mineral crystal. It is made of an extremely durable synthetic material that makes it shatterproof and scratch resistant (not scratchproof). Some have a non-reflective film to prevent glare.
 

thelookingglass

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2005
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Having a screen that will most likely not scratch over its life time is a waste of time?

I hope Apple does this. Knock on wood, I've never dropped a phone or broken a screen but I have had a little scratch on my screen once that did annoy me even though I could barely see it. I'll definitely enjoy having a sapphire crystal display on my next iPhone.
I'd always thought that most scratches were on the oleophobic coating and not the glass itself. Unless they find a way to somehow infuse the coating into the sapphire glass, I'm still skeptical of what benefits this sapphire will have over gorilla glass.
 

WestCoastUser83

macrumors newbie
Jun 17, 2010
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Does anyone else remember the 1986 Star Trek IV movie the "Voyage Home."

There's a scene in it about the invention of "Transparent Aluminum" which is basically sapphire.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transparent_aluminum#Transparent_aluminum

"...It was notably mentioned in the 1986 film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Panels of ultra-thick acrylic glass were needed to construct water tanks within their ship's cargo bay for containing two humpback whales and tons of water. However, the Enterprise crew, without money appropriate to the period, found it necessary to barter for the required materials. Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott exchanges the chemical formula for transparent aluminum for the needed 20th century plexiglass equivalent from a manufacturer called Plexicorp. When Dr. Leonard McCoy informs Scott that giving Dr. Nichols the formula is altering the future, the engineer responds, "Why? How do we know he didn't invent the thing?"...The substance is described as being as transparent as glass while possessing the strength and density of high-grade aluminum...It should also be noted that sapphire, which is transparent and widely used in commercial and industrial settings, is nothing more than an aluminum oxide."
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,554
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Does anyone else remember the 1986 Star Trek IV movie the "Voyage Home."

There's a scene in it about the invention of "Transparent Aluminum" which is basically sapphire.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transparent_aluminum#Transparent_aluminum

"...It was notably mentioned in the 1986 film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Panels of ultra-thick acrylic glass were needed to construct water tanks within their ship's cargo bay for containing two humpback whales and tons of water. However, the Enterprise crew, without money appropriate to the period, found it necessary to barter for the required materials. Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott exchanges the chemical formula for transparent aluminum for the needed 20th century plexiglass equivalent from a manufacturer called Plexicorp. When Dr. Leonard McCoy informs Scott that giving Dr. Nichols the formula is altering the future, the engineer responds, "Why? How do we know he didn't invent the thing?"...The substance is described as being as transparent as glass while possessing the strength and density of high-grade aluminum...It should also be noted that sapphire, which is transparent and widely used in commercial and industrial settings, is nothing more than an aluminum oxide."
I do remember that.

However thinking about it now. Did they have to use the 20th century CLEAR equivalent? Could they have used something stronger and not transparent to hold the humpbacks (steel) or was there a reason they needed it to be like an aquarium on the enterprise?
 

cynics

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Jan 8, 2012
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Sapphire crystal is the cover of choice for premium watches. It is the most expensive type of crystal and is three times harder than mineral crystal. It is made of an extremely durable synthetic material that makes it shatterproof and scratch resistant (not scratchproof). Some have a non-reflective film to prevent glare.
Might as well call it scratch proof if you are going with shatterproof.

The crystal of any premium watch including synthetic sapphire is far from shatterproof. Its also one of the most common repairs of a watchmaker, synthetic sapphire obviously being more expensive of a repair then mineral or acrylic crystals.

As a fathers day gift 5-6 years ago I had the crystal replaced in his Blancpain. It was ridiculously expensive compared to what I was expecting (I shattered the sapphire crystal in my Tag years prior) but it was due to the thickness or so I was told.

Regardless its certainly not shatterproof and I wouldn't expect the sapphire on an iPhone to be toooo premium at its price point. The cost to replace the crystal in that Blancpain was just short of an unlock iPhone....for just the crystal (plus watchmakers labor which isn't cheap either).
 

zipa

macrumors 65816
Feb 19, 2010
1,442
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The cost to replace the crystal in that Blancpain was just short of an unlock iPhone....for just the crystal (plus watchmakers labor which isn't cheap either).
I'd say that material cost was 5% at most, probably a lot less. Labor costs, obviously, but the absolute majority of the price comes from "because we can". It's a luxury item, repairs are going to cost a luxurious amount as well. It's a bit like paying $300 for a nav unit for your Skoda, but then getting fleeced for $2000 to get that exact same unit factory installed in your new Audi.
 

sixrom

macrumors 6502a
Nov 13, 2013
709
1
Apple thrives on headlines, recognition and bragging rights. That's what this is about. Oh sure it's got a certain value and makes the phone somewhat more durable, but that's debatable vs the price it adds to the cost of the phone.

iPhones are largely a vanity purchase. People who want to show off and be seen with them. A status symbol to some, even though they're a dime a dozen here in California. An expensive Sapphire lens & display would enhance its status. A very important consideration for soccer moms, rich old ladies, and others who get their identity from possessions.
 

ET iPhone Home

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Oct 5, 2011
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Orange County, California USA
Apple thrives on headlines, recognition and bragging rights. That's what this is about. Oh sure it's got a certain value and makes the phone somewhat more durable, but that's debatable vs the price it adds to the cost of the phone.

iPhones are largely a vanity purchase. People who want to show off and be seen with them. A status symbol to some, even though they're a dime a dozen here in California. An expensive Sapphire lens & display would enhance its status. A very important consideration for soccer moms, rich old ladies, and others who get their identity from possessions.
I'm from O.C. and let me tell you those Orange County Housewives you see on the Bravo Channel is point on. Every item they carry with them down to an iPhone and their 36DD's has got to be a status symbol. "Look at me, Look at me."; It's nauseating.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
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I'd say that material cost was 5% at most, probably a lot less. Labor costs, obviously, but the absolute majority of the price comes from "because we can". It's a luxury item, repairs are going to cost a luxurious amount as well. It's a bit like paying $300 for a nav unit for your Skoda, but then getting fleeced for $2000 to get that exact same unit factory installed in your new Audi.
Oh I have no doubt the majority was labor. But I also doubt Apple will use the same quality of synthetic sapphire as high end watch manufacturers do. Plus those repairs even existing show that sapphire can break.

And while I'm not a physicist, a small watch crystal should be less likely to shatter when compared to a larger pane of sapphire on a phone.
 
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sixrom

macrumors 6502a
Nov 13, 2013
709
1
I'm from O.C. and let me tell you those Orange County Housewives you see on the Bravo Channel is point on. Every item they carry with them down to an iPhone and their 36DD's has got to be a status symbol. "Look at me, Look at me."; It's nauseating.
Well said. :)
 
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