Video demo of Sapphire-coated iPhone display leaves it unscratched by concrete

With increasing evidence that Apple plans to replace Gorilla Glass with sapphire to protect the screen of the iPhone 6, it’s interesting to watch a video demo of just how scratch-resistant the material is.

Screen protection company Aero-Gear scrapes a concrete block across the screen of an iPhone 5 fitted with a sapphire protector. Assuming the video is genuine (the camera angle hides the actual scraping), it’s an extremely impressive demonstration of what we might expect from a sapphire-coated iPhone 6 … 

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  1. alphabetize1 - 9 years ago

    I have no noticable scratches on my iPhone glass. I would much rather have shatter resistant glass.

  2. Gary Weisbrodt - 9 years ago

    I can live with a scratch on the screen but what about breaking?

  3. Did anyone else notice the piece of cardboard on the other side of the cinder block to reduce the coefficient of friction thus making it slide more smoothly over the surface of the phone?

    • shareef777 - 9 years ago

      The cardboard is to level the cinder block. If it wasn’t there then the back end of the block would drop and would only be able to make contact with the corner of the phone. But as others have pointed, Gorilla glass is pretty scratch resistant already. Maybe not cinder block resistant, but I don’t usually carry a cinder block in my pocket. Now, shatter resistant is what myself and most people are looking for.

  4. PMZanetti - 9 years ago

    Scratch resistent? Low priority with Gorilla Glass.

    How about drop resistant? I’m not talking extremes, I’m talking from your pocket to the ground. Way too many iPhones shattered beyond usability from such a small, simple drop.

    • rettun1 - 9 years ago

      Actually, most iPhones I’ve seen with a shattered screen worked like normal, but obviously a shattered screen is not ideal. They are still very usable tho

      • PMZanetti - 9 years ago

        Ha. Yes. Usable in the sense that if you can see through a shattered spider web and don’t mind rubbing tiny shards of glass into your finger with each pass….then yes, totally usable.

  5. sardonick - 9 years ago

    Yea. Do it 50 more times and then do a closey uppey. Not impressed by promotional vids. (am impressed by the concept though)

  6. towamp - 9 years ago

    Ben, I love your writing style and enjoy reading every article you write even if a specific topic doesn’t interest me. I think you are one of the best writers among all the Mac rumors websites I follow. Keep up the good work!

  7. Lee (@leemahi) - 9 years ago

    My iPad Screen is not scratch proof. If I take it out in the sun, I can see the faintest swirl marks and maybe like 20 odd scratches on it that I blame my cats for. I can see these only in bright sunlight.

    But I think this was a prank. Thanks for pointing out the camera angle.

  8. Chris Aukerman - 9 years ago

    OMG THAT SOUNDED HORRIBLE! I’m impressed, but as others have commented I’m interested to see a drop test, especially since some leaked images of the next iPhone are showing glass casings with minimal metals.

  9. Simon Potts (@simoncbp) - 9 years ago

    As you say camera angle is pretty poor – lets put our hand in front of the demonstration. Also I noticed an apparent scratch on the screen on the upper most edge once it had been wiped clear. Good but could be better

  10. Greg Kaplan (@kaplag) - 9 years ago

    cool! it will look super great on the screen, which counts for a lot, and all the rest of the soft aluminum will look like it’s from a post apocalyptic future. The plus to the aluminum is it seems to absorb impact well so at least the glass doesn’t break as much, but it does look pretty bad after some wear and tear.

    I think iPhone 4 design holds up best if you manage not to shatter it. I’ve dropped my 4s dozens of times and luckily it’s not shattered. Very few scratches and all the rest of the phone looks amazing. That special stainless steal is so great looking.

  11. Alex (@Metascover) - 9 years ago

    Well of course it’s genuine. The only thing that can scratch sapphire is other sapphire or diamond. Nothing else.

  12. Alex (@Metascover) - 9 years ago

    I can’t believe people think this isn’t real. Get informed people! Sapphire is almost like diamond. Even by scratching it with your keys for hours you wouldn’t let a mark.

  13. Court Kizer - 9 years ago

    Gorilla glass on the 1 to 10 scale of hardness is a 5. Sapphire is a 9. The next item is Diamond with 10.

  14. Jerry F - 9 years ago

    Rented a Leica S2 for a shoot that had Sapphire glass for the LCD, and (stupidly) tried to scratch the back screen with a rock, and nothing happened. (although the wife was pretty pissed I would try something so dumb).

  15. Pierre Calixte - 9 years ago

    The scratch resistance of sapphire is well known. I just hope they figured out a way to increase its shatter resistance.

  16. drtyrell969 - 9 years ago

    Hmmmm…let’s turn that phone on. I trust you, but hairline fractures don’t show up on deep black surfaces.

  17. Another one of their videos shows it being dropped repeatedly, scraped and stabbed at with a knife so the shatterproof…ness of it looks improved too.

  18. A better experiment would’ve been to show a side-by-side where they run the same block of concrete at the same time over a phone WITHOUT the sapphire coating… Just how much better is it?


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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