IPhone 6 Will Be Hard To Kill With Sapphire

Posted: Jul 8 2014, 1:14am CDT | by , Updated: Jul 8 2014, 1:16am CDT, in News | Apple

iPhone 6 will be Hard To Kill with Sapphire
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Back in February, I told you how Apple’s deal to secure $578 million worth of sapphire meant only one thing: the front cover for the iPhone 6 would no longer be Gorilla Glass, the Corning product Apple has used for years. Now, thanks to Marques Brownlee, we can see how that major change in materials will mean a much more scratch resistant, harder to break iPhone. In a new video, Brownlee shows off the front piece for what is ostensibly a 4.7-inch iPhone 6. He scratches it with keys and a rather substantial pocket knife and tries to bend it to the point of breaking. In all cases, he fails to damage the piece.

Because he’s using a part and not an actual phone, Brownlee admits he couldn’t do some of the normal torture testing one might do to find out how durable it is. For example, he couldn’t drop an iPhone 6 on the ground to see if the screen glass shattered — that will have to wait until the iPhone ships in September — but he did establish its durability.

Obviously, this will be a welcome change if the final shipping product is anywhere near as robust. Millions of iPhone owners have used screen protectors to guard against small scratches forming over time and countless others have suffered the indignity of having a shattered front glass resting over their screens because they either didn’t know if was replaceable or hadn’t had the chance to get it fixed. The smartphone repair service iCracked is basically named in honor of this all-too-frequent occurrence.

There had been rumors that the sapphire front piece would only appear on the larger of the new iPhones, the 5.5-inch model that’s expected, but today’s parts leak all but confirms what was surmised back in February: both new iPhones will get sapphire. Apple has deployed the material before, both to cover the fingerprint sensor and the camera lens on current models, and it’s been used on high-quality watches for a long time. But a rollout of this magnitude is essentially unprecedented, which is why Apple needed to secure the supply from GT Advanced so far in advance.

Brownlee was excited about the optical clarity of the sapphire, as well as its apparent thinness. Both of those tidbits are good news as concerns had been raised that sapphire would be thicker and less transmissive of light than Gorilla Glass. Corning, for its part, has been dismissive of sapphire claiming that it will result in inferior battery life or dimmer displays. Whether any of this is true remains to be seen. As Gordon Kelly reported earlier, the latest rumors regarding the new iPhone’s battery are discouraging. But we know much less about what’s going on there than we do about the new display cover.

In the meantime, the iPhone launch draws closer, with an expected announcement 2 months away and a release date before the end of September. Parts leaks are likely to continue, thanks mostly to Sonny Dickson, who sourced the front that Brownlee used in his video. Dickson abused the part less than Brownlee, however, perhaps fearing he’d break it. As the video below shows, that’s apparently not easy to do.

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