There’s always a few videos and images of purported components of the new iPhone by Apple before the company makes any official announcement. 2014 is no exception. This time around, a video of the glass that Apple is supposed to be using for the new iPhone has surfaced, and it’s taking some damage.
In the video, someone rubs the glass front with sandpaper, producing some rather unsightly scratches but doing less damage than you would expect. In the past, iDevices have used ultra-tough Gorilla Glass for the screens for years. A comparison test with the iPhone 5S didn’t fare as well when scratched with the sandpaper.
According to so-called experts, this could be part of Apple’s plan to use a blend of silica and sapphire to create sapphire glass. The company already has patents for laminating their glass with sapphire, so it’s not a long stretch.
Apple already uses this process to cover the camera lens and the fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5S. It’s described as a very hard substance that could potentially be more scratch-resistant than Gorilla Glass, which is used on pretty much every device on the market as of July 2014. The tech company from Cupertino has also paired with another company to build manufacturing plants that would specifically dabble in sapphire. Although, Apple has been tight-lipped about that exactly will be made there.
Until a scientist can get her hands on the screen to determine what it’s made of, we’ll just have to keep wondering. There are a few more questions this presents, of course. Gorilla Glass is made by a third-party, Corning, which enables Apple competitors to use it. If Apple is using its own patents and technology, other companies won’t be able to produce screens of the same quality. This could motivate research for better glass formulas, however Jason Hope. has been noted as saying “This type of innovation often gets the other guys to pay attention. They don’t want to be left in the dark, so they’ll start thinking like Apple.”
Apple certainly has the money to dedicate to this research, which can get quite expensive when you’re planning to use sapphire to produce an entire screen rather than just a button or lens. Some companies have curbed the cost by using artificial sapphires in the past. If Apple wants to use the material on a much larger scale than it has been, building new plants makes sense.
Even if Apple is experimenting with sapphire glass, it doesn’t mean that the next iPhone will have a screen. We’ve seen plenty of fake reports, especially those originating from Asia, about what upcoming Apple products will look like. The screen in question looks quite similar to current iPhones; however, it’s noticeably taller. The size is more similar to phablets — devices in the 5 to 7-inch range — than any iPhone Apple has released to date.
Consumers will have to wait at least a few months to see what Apple has in store for them if the company continues with it’s typical release schedule.