Corning, the company behind the popular Gorilla Glass brand, today announced the next iteration of its cover glass for mobile displays, a likely candidate for future Apple devices including the iPhone 7. Corning says that Gorilla Glass 5 survives drops onto rough surfaces four times better than other solutions, noting that clarity of the display and touch sensitivity are not affected.
A report from the usually-reliable KGI has repeated many of the details from our exclusives on the iPhone 6S, but additionally offered support for an earlier rumor that the front camera will be upgraded to 5MP. Surprisingly, it also suggests that the rear camera lens may not be sapphire, as it has apparently failed drop tests.
Aside from upgrading rear camera module to 12MP, Apple will upgrade front camera module to 5MP […] The new iPhone may not be equipped with sapphire cover lens, as it still has quality issues on the drop test.
Although sapphire is much more scratch-resistant than Gorilla Glass, it is more brittle, and thus at greater risk of shattering when dropped.
Consumer Reports initial tests unable to scratch Apple Watch sapphire, find heart-rate sensors accurate
I can’t remember if we’re still mad at Consumer Reports for Antennagate but they seem to be doing a thorough job at testing the Apple Watch as evidenced in the video below. Notable from their Day 1 tests is that the Apple Watch Sport screen does scratch but only after going pretty far down the Moh’s hardness scale (7-rated) into the unlikely to ever happen category.
The Sapphire Apple Watch however wouldn’t scratch under any circumstances, though it doesn’t appear that Consumer Reports had a diamond pick to test it against. Regardless, for intents and purposes, you likely will never see a scratch on the face of the Apple Watch (the back is a different matter)…
Corning announced today that it is preparing to ship a new type of glass that can withstand scratches almost as well as sapphire while providing superior drop protection. The glass is the result of “Project Phire,” which aimed to create a more scratch-resistant glass to rival sapphire.
The announcement comes shortly after the company debuted Gorilla Glass 4, which is expected to be included on many new smartphone models this year. However, Project Phire could give even Gorilla Glass a run for its money, if it can live up to Corning’s claims.
The team at uBreakiFix was recently invited to Corning’s Gorilla Glass testing facility in Corning, New York for an inside look at the science behind the ultra-durable glass found on iPhones, iPads and several other smartphones and tablets. The five-minute spot goes behind the scenes at Corning’s strength testing lab to show how durable Gorilla Glass is under stress and bending tests.
The MythBusters take on Corning’s Gorilla Glass to see how it stacks up against the regular stuff (video)
The displays on most smartphones these days, including the iPhone, are made using Gorilla Glass from Corning, Inc., which is stronger and lighter than regular glass. Just how much stronger and lighter, exactly, is a question that was put to the test by MythBusters Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman as part of a promotional campaign by Corning.
The video (embedded below) puts two phones through quick drop and scratch tests before moving on to other applications for the glass, such as car windshields. A previous entry in the series covered the bendability of Gorilla Glass.
The GTAT mess may have forced Apple to abandon its presumed plans to replace iPhone Gorilla Glass screens with sapphire, but next year’s iPhone displays could still prove up to twice as shatter-resistant, says glass-maker Corning.
Corning said that studying hundreds of broken phone screens had revealed the unsurprising fact that shattered screens most commonly occurred in a one-meter drop onto a rough surface like concrete or asphalt. Drop tests in these conditions found that Gorilla Glass 4 survived up to 80% of such impacts – twice the record of the Gorilla Glass 3 used in current iPhones.
While there was much scientific testing behind the scenes, the videos the company used to illustrate the improved strength were rather less scientific in nature …
Good Technology is out with its latest report examining share of mobile platforms in the enterprise and in it noted that iOS was able to grow its market share following the introduction of the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The increase from 67% last quarter to 69% during Q3 isn’t a huge one, but it’s notable given it comes at the expense of Android OS just over a month into sales of the new Apple devices.
Time is reporting that, in contrast to the many rumors (and GTAT investor claims), Apple had never planned to use sapphire displays for the iPhone 6, and the company may not use it for future iPhones.
Some reports stated that up until a few weeks before the iPhone announcement, Apple was going to use sapphire but dropped it because of yield issues. This is not true. My sources tell me that sapphire was never targeted for the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus and its role in future iPhones hasn’t even been decided yet.
Speculation about sapphire displays for the iPhone 6 began when Apple built a major new manufacturing facility in Arizona last November. But Time‘s Tim Bajarin says that while the scratch-resistance of the material may have made it sound superficially appealing, there were no fewer than five reasons it would not have made sense to use the material for the iPhone 6 display …
An investment note we’ve seen from analyst and GTAT investor Matt Margolis claims that all 5.5-inch models of the iPhone 6 will come with sapphire screens, while the 4.7-inch model will get either sapphire or Gorilla Glass depending on the specification.
According to sources close to Foxconn’s manufacturing operations the iPhone 6 will come built with sapphire cover screens in both sizes. These sources have also indicated that the 4.7” Phone 6 is being assembled in two varieties, a sapphire cover screen version and a version featuring Gorilla Glass. At this point I do not know the approximate mix between the two cover screen options on the 4.7” iPhone 6. My latest check on the 5.5” iPhone 6 indicates that all units of the device are expected to come protected by a sapphire cover screen at this point …
Last week, YouTuber Marques Brownlee got his hands on what is claimed to be a sapphire glass panel from Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6. The initial video (found here) put the panel through a variety of torture tests including, knives, keys, and even a flexibility test to show off the panel’s durability. While there were no scientific tests performed to prove the front glass is actually sapphire, the result of each test was very impressive. Well, apparently that wasn’t enough…
Analysts at JP Morgan securities suggest that production output of sapphire display covers are not enough to satisfy all iPhone 6 demand and say that sapphire will be restricted to higher-end variants of the iPhone 6 only, in a report highlighted by the Taipei Times.
JP Morgan says that sapphire display cover volume will be about 10 million units in 2014. To put this number into perspective, Apple sold 51 million iPhones in the first full quarter of iPhone 5s sales last year.
“Sapphire covers will also be restricted to high-end iPhones, possibly the 128GB [gigabyte] ones,” the brokerage said in the report.
The report says that sapphire will be limited to higher-capacity iPhone models, “possibly” only the 128 GB SKU’s. The additional cost of sapphire over Gorilla Glass also factor in, aside from pure production limitations.
Matching a report from yesterday, the analysts also suggest that not all iWatches will ship with sapphire coatings, either. Both the iWatch and the iPhone 6 are expected to be announced in the third quarter.
While it’s not yet certain that the iPhone 6 screen will get a sapphire layer, that’s certainly the way things look at present – providing a screen that is pretty much impervious to scratches (though no more resistant to breakage).
The problem with sapphire is it’s about ten times as expensive as Gorilla Glass. There have been vague suggestions that new manufacturing techniques might narrow the gap, but it still seems likely that Apple will have to sacrifice a bit of margin to introduce the material.
In the tech equivalent of a turkey dissing Thanksgiving dinners, Corning SVP Tony Tripeny has criticized sapphire as a material for protecting phone screens, coming up with a whole list of claimed drawbacks, reports CNET.
We see a lot of disadvantages of Sapphire versus Gorilla Glass. It’s about 10 times more expensive. It’s about 1.6 times heavier. It’s environmentally unfriendly. It takes about 100 times more energy to generate a Sapphire crystal than it does glass. It transmits less light which…means either dimmer devices or shorter battery life. It continues to break. I think while it’s a scratch resistant product it still breaks and our testing says that Gorilla Glass [can take] about 2.5 times more pressure that it can take.
Sapphire is far more resistant to scratches than Gorilla Glass, but Corning argue that it is more likely to be smashed.
Apple is expected to switch to a sapphire coating for the iPhone 6, manufacturing the material at the plant it jointly operates with GTAT in Arizona. While the material is indeed currently much more expensive than glass, it has been suggested that the costs could be substantially reduced with new production techniques.
Taiwanese report reiterates 4.7 inch and 5.6 inch iPhones incoming, claims larger model will not use iPhone branding
A report published in Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, via Mac Otakara, reiterates the flurry of previous reporting that Apple will release two new iPhones this year with larger displays, around 4.7 and 5.6 inches respectively. This has been reported countless times in the past by multiple sources. It also says that Apple is targeting a release in the third-quarter, again unsurprising at this point.
However, the report goes onto say that only the larger of these two phones will feature sapphire-glass. According to this sketchy report, the 4.7 inch model will continue to use Corning’s Gorilla Glass like the current iPhone 5s and 5c.
Speculation and circumstantial evidence points toward possibility of Apple using solar in upcoming products
There has long been speculation about Apple incorporating a solar panel into its products, both for environmental reasons and to boost battery-life. There have been Mobile-Solar Apple Jobs that have vanished after discovery, tons of patents, trial rumors and of course the Solar effort/expertise on Apple’s Data Centers and new Campus 2 building. This week, Seeking Alpha has a highly speculative piece by Matt Margolis suggesting that the evidence may be mounting for the iPhone 6 being the product Apple uses to bring the Solar idea to market.
Before we get too far into the speculation, it is worthwhile to note that the surface area of an iPhone would hardly be enough to keep a charge let alone recharge a phone even with the most efficient solar technology in labs today. However, all of the evidence weighed together might make you forget all of that ‘science’…
An intriguing patent application by Apple to deliver mood-based advertising contains what could be read as a strong hint that the rumored iWatch will, as we’ve speculated in the past, major on sensor technology.
In addition to describing ways of assessing mood by such clues as likes in social media, type of applications used and music playing, the patent also lists physical characteristics that could be used:
Mood-associated physical characteristics can include heart rate; blood pressure; adrenaline level; perspiration rate; body temperature; vocal expression, e.g. voice level, voice pattern, voice stress, etc.; movement characteristics; facial expression; etc …
In an effort to combat spreading germs and bacteria through sharing smart phones and touch screen devices, Corning announced today plans to produce a Gorilla Glass variant with an antimicrobial surface for inhibiting bacterial growth. This version of Corning Gorilla Glass is made up of an antibacterial agent and contains levels of ionic silver that sustains the germ fighting capabilities through the life of the surface, according to the company.
Corning, the company that makes the Gorilla Glass found in Apple’s iOS devices and many other mobile phones across the market, announced today that they have achieved “manufacturing readiness” for a 3D-shaped version of Gorilla Glass. This essentially means that the company has finished developing the process to create this new and improved glass and is ready to start manufacturing it for smartphone manufacturers and other companies.
The press release notes that “more than half of the top 10 smartphone manufacturers already market devices that incorporate cover glass with subtle curves.” Up until now, those phones have had to forego the super-durable display afforded by Corning and settle for something more pliable.
What this means in the long run is that phones with curved displays will become less of a compromise in quality for companies like Apple, which was rumored to be developing a curved-glass iPhone for some time in the near future, perhaps even next year.
TechCrunch has an interesting piece in which it suggests that the sapphire crystal Apple currently uses in the Touch ID home button on the iPhone 5s might prove a cost-effective option for iPhone screens sooner than we thought.
Sapphire is very, very tough. Short of scraping it with your diamond ring, you’re unlikely to scratch it. But it’s also very, very expensive. A sapphire outer layer on an iPhone would likely cost ten times as much as the Gorilla Glass Apple uses at present.
But Apple recently struck a deal with sapphire manufacturer GT Advanced Technologies to boost production by 2000 percent, and GTAT just happens to have acquired a solar panel company that developed a new technique for slicing hard materials very thinly using an ion particle accelerator.
If the same technique can be applied to sapphire, and if it could be combined with a sapphire laminating system already patented by Apple, the cost could plummet.
Apple could drive the costs of sapphire sheets down incredibly low in comparison to the traditional method. It will be able to create many of these super thin sapphire sheets from the same amount of raw material it would take to make one full piece of sapphire cover glass. It could then laminate the assembly together in the way that it currently does iPhones […]
This, in turn, could mean sapphire cover sheets that are harder and tougher than standard glass materials on your iPhone years sooner than most analysts have predicted.
Those are two big IFs, so we’re not holding our breath, but it’s certainly an intriguing possibility.
Apple’s sapphire deal to increase manufacturer’s revenue from sapphire by approximately 20x current levels
Earlier this week, Apple announced a deal with GT Advanced Technologies to increase production of sapphire for use it’s in products. This production will take place in Apple’s new Arizona facility. Via AllThingsD, as part of an earnings call on Monday, GT shed some light on just how big this deal is for both companies.
As Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White noted today, GT’s sapphire business accounted for 11 percent of its year-to-date sales — about $28.9 million in revenue. But, in forecasting 2014 revenue, the company said it expects to make $600 million to $800 million, with 80 percent of those sales attributable to its sapphire business.
This means that GT’s sapphire business will generate between $480 – $640 million of the company’s 2014 revenue, an increase of almost twenty-times compared to 2013. An increase this large implies Apple has a much bigger vision for sapphire than what it uses it for today.
It concludes that while the technology in the iPad Air is significantly more advanced than in the iPad 3 (for some reason the company skipped the iPad 4), the total production cost is actually lower, reports AllThingsD.
The firm says Apple’s iPad Air […] costs between $274 and $361 to build depending on model. The […] total component cost of the base model, at $274, is still $42 cheaper than the entry-level third-generation iPad …
Among the less likely of the many rumors surrounding Apple’s long-expected move into full televisions is one reported in Bloomberg today, suggesting that Apple will launch 55- and 65-inch 4K televisions in the final quarter of 2014 with pricing in the $1500 to $2500 range.
Masahiko Ishino, an analyst at Advanced Research Japan Co, claims the displays will be made by LG, the GPUs by Samsung and the frameless glass cover made from Corning Gorilla Glass 3, with Foxconn assembling the products …
In case you needed some proof that the rumors of Apple switching from Corning glass to sapphire crystal are unlikely, Corning has posted a video on its website showing how its current Gorilla Glass is superior to sapphire for mobile devices.
Recently, speculation has arisen that manufactured sapphire crystal might become an alternative to Corning’s Gorilla Glass. “Sapphire’s performance as a cover for high-end watches probably leads to the current speculation. But those covers are much smaller than a mobile phone and are two to three times thicker than Gorilla Glass. In one of our commonly accepted strength tests, sapphire breaks more easily than Gorilla Glass after the same simulated use. Additionally, sapphire’s cost and environmental hit are huge issues,” Steiner said.
There have been a couple rumors floating around that smartphone makers are looking into using sapphire crystal as a replacement for other cover glass solutions. With Apple using the material as a cover for its camera lenses on iPhone 5 and the latest iPod touch, some have speculated it could use sapphire for other parts of its devices, such as the display’s cover glass or home button. However, that’s not likely, according to Corning, Gorilla Glass is “about half the weight”, requires 99 percent less energy in manufacturing, provides brighter displays, and “costs less than a tenth” of sapphire.