It’s official. The iPhone 6 screen is tough!
Sapphire is the second-hardest material on the planet. Manufactured sapphire, a substance already used to armor some military vehicles, has made its debut in smartphone and tablet screens. Leaked specs and recent company projections suggest we could see the iPhone 6 launch with sapphire glass rumored to be coming this fall.
While Apple already utilizes sapphire-based material in its camera lens on the iPhone 5 and fingerprint recognition button on the iPhone 5S, this material will encompass the whole front screen for a sleek, yet rugged demeanor.
Impervious to scratches and frequent sidewalk drops that send many a phone to their demise, sapphire screens make your devices nearly unbreakable compared to the glass displays currently used on most mobile devices.
Will the iPhone 6 sapphire screen maintain its sleekness after the sandpaper test, because who hasn’t accidentally scratched their screen with a sheet of sandpaper?
The iPhone 6 display seems to not be immune to the effects of the sandpaper – but it does stand up much better to the abrasion than the display of its predecessor.
The material density is cause for concern, however. While hard and durable, sapphire is about 60% heavier than the glass that is used now. Sapphire is a crystalline form of aluminum oxide, a durable abrasive known for its longevity and hardness and has the ability to be recycled many times. However, current mobile asset management and disposition processes may have to be adapted to fit the changing materials embedded in devices.
Mobile lifecycle management, an innovative trend in the electronics recycling industry takes into consideration the specific process of recycling mobile devices compared to other IT equipment. 140,000,000 mobile phones go to the landfill each year, while only 10% are recycled annually. From certified data erasure to proper recycling of components like SIM cards and front displays, mobile asset disposition is becoming an essential part of processing new materials making their way into cell phones and tablets.
Aside from the density, this material’s expense is troubling for mobile asset management organizations offering tablet repair services. Manufactured sapphire is said to currently be about ten times the cost of Gorilla Glass.
As demand for manufactured sapphire increases, the expense to install the display on millions of smartphones and tablets will decrease, although it will never be as inexpensive as glass. GT Advanced also hinted that it won’t stop at sapphire, but will also expand its manufacturing capabilities into a range of other types of materials for use in gadget construction.