I'll wait until the 6s next year
Apple fanbois were left scratching their heads when Tim Cook unveiled the new iPhone 6 without the sapphire glass facelift many were expecting it to receive . Now mobile analyst Matt Margolis has claimed that supply chain issues prevented Cupertino from rolling out phones equipped with the new wonder material. He is one of …
Watch purchased in 1998, ORIS BC3 sapphire crystal glass front and back in a stainless steel case.
After 15 years the front and back glass is unmarked whereas the steel case shows scratches and marks.
However, the glass is actually quite thick to compensate for the fact that it would be too brittle if made too thin. That unfortunately is a trade off with sapphire crystal. It is also heavy.
I think Apple are looking to use a laminate on anything bigger than a watch, or a new form of glass that has shock resistance built into it.
Really 'thin' sapphire crystal is brittle.
>Maybe it's simply not possible to reliably make millions of perfect sapphire phone screens
Over the years there has been much debate around the various mineral crystals available for watch displays. I suspect that part of the problem is not that you can't reliably make millions of perfect sapphire phone screens, but whether it can be done at the required cost and whether such a brittle screen really is appropriate given the application (yes sapphire may be very hard and resistant to scratching, however just like diamond is brittle and subject to cleaving or shattering on impact).
Personally, having the choice between a sapphire screen or a slightly softer and flexible mineral crystal screen, I would go with the non-sapphire screen.
"Maybe it's simply not possible to reliably make millions of perfect sapphire phone screens and the whole concept is vaporware."
Maybe, but if there's any truth in the rumours, the "missing" sapphire screens are purely (as the article suggests) an outcome of the yield issue. On any new process you have a lot of defects, and a lot of early production ends in the bin, and you can only go to full production when you know you can produce enough intact parts to make the process profitable for both manufacturer and phone assembler.
Something that nobody has mentioned is whether sapphire screens are going into the distribution channel unannounced, and being sold alongside normal glass. Would make sense, to gauge performance and warranty costs. Maybe fanbois should test their devices? Usual testing mode is to take a faceted diamond (your wife's ring) and see if that marks the face.
Yes yield definitely is part it. Also I note from other reports there is a general issue of there being sufficient sapphire being produced, which Apple were addressing by building it's own glass plants, which I suspect aren't ready for prime time just yet.
As for your test, a simpler one would be to take the phone outside - sapphire is more reflective...
"As for your test, a simpler one would be to take the phone outside - sapphire is more reflective..."
Alright, ignoring wicked jokes at the (very unlikely) potential expense of the clueless. But surely a sapphire screen is going to have an anti-reflection coating. Not much use if you can't use the thing in daylight? And glass screens are bad enough in tis respect already.
>Not much use if you can't use the thing in daylight?
Ignoring specialist phones (£££), I've yet to come across a mass market smartphone that is as usable in daylight as a device with an e-ink display such as the Kindle...
But point taken, I wonder whether Apple compared sapphire with gorilla glass in daylight and decided that perhaps it was better to wait until suitable coatings were available...
Selling a small quantity of a niche product like the Android phones with sapphire screens and selling 150 million a year are two VERY different things.
Apple is clearly not there yet, but they will be there before anyone else. If for no other reason than they spend $1 billion building a sapphire plant that will produce 10x more sapphire than all the other plants in the world combined. If anyone wants to follow them with a mass market phone that sells millions of copies, they'll need to make a similar investment, or hope one of the sapphire producers does. Either way, they won't be able to make the screens as cost effectively as Apple will, since they'll be making so many more and own the factory they're being made in.
Many of my colleagues have Android phones, and many of them have cracked screens.
I'm not sure if perhaps it's because they're holding them wrong (and thus dropping them), or because they bang them against the office window trying to get a signal (actually the signal is there, but their phone has given up and won't even be checking for a signal for another five minutes).
Manufacturing a flawless smartphone screen from sapphire is an order of magnitude more difficult than making a watch face, and the assertion that Android phones have had sapphire screens for years is disingenuous. The vast majority of Android phones have tempered glass (Landfill variants) or Gorilla glass (mid -> premium); just like iPhones.
If you want an iPhone with sapphire screen it does exist; I saw one at Schiphol airport for €4,999. Gold plated, diamond encrusted, and with a sapphire screen, right next to a blinged-up iPad at 6 grand. The price is a good indication that mass production isn't yet a viable proposition.
Apple did release a product that uses this not so mythical material, the Apple Watch.
There were lotos of indicateions earlier in the year that Apple was not gonig to be able to produce enough for this phone release despite these Analysists (a.k.a Crystal ball gazers) were saying.
It really isn't a surprise that this generatino of device does not have a Sapphire screen but hey, the idiots need to keep spouting forth a stream of verbal shite in order to earn a living don't they?
Perhaps Apple should encase a few of them in this wonderful material? After all this garbage can have a profiund effect on the share price.
To be padantic they didn't release anything at all just made announcements. They then stated the release dates for the phones, the watch ? well thats some time "early" next year. so any time in the first 4 months, not a release then.....
I may be wrong but as I understand it, while sapphire is considerably more scratch resistant than the glass they're using on the phones at the moment, it is also a lot more brittle and susceptible to cracking. There is a trade off and I suspect (and this is pure speculation on my part) that Apple have chosen durability over scratch resistance.
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>Maybe someone will develop a way to attach a thin sapphire glass face onto a tougher base, resulting in excellent scratch resistance and good toughness too.
Seiko did that years back when producing sapphire was less reliable and more expensive than it is now (google sapphlex). With advances in production technology they now only use their proprietary hardlex (mineral crystal) or sapphire crystals depending upon price point and market being targeted.
However, it is worth remembering that the sapphire screen on your 1000m divers watch will be a totally different level of quality to the sapphire screen on your idevice; this will be reflected in the price and guarantee...
"The plan as of a “week ago” was to include a sapphire covered iPhone 6 in yesterday’s launch," Margolis wrote."
So in the space of three weeks they're going to have enough Gorilla glass (or whatever it is Apple use) to slap onto several million patiently waiting iPhone 6 chasses? Sounds rather unlikely.
More likely, the plan was always to put sapphire glass on the watch, which is quite common from semi-expensive watches.
However, until one week ago, analysts and observers all thought that Apple would also put sapphire glass on phones. They risk nothing by pretending it, considering Apple emits about as much as a black hole.
By the way, sources in the know tell me that the next model will have a holographic display. You saw it here first!
If they weren't sure about having enough sapphire, they'd make sure they have enough glass on hand. The glass screens cost only $3/ea, so even if they didn't end up using them that's a small price to pay for being prepared. Though they could perhaps be re-cut to be used in iPhone 5S and 5C.
Though I have trouble believing the go / no-go decision was left to a week ago, that seems to be cutting it a bit too close.
For me, there is nothing particularly special here in the iPhone 6. I don't see any killer applications, or must have features. It's just moderately faster, NFC-enabled and comes in a range of sizes...
Still, i'm sure that won't stop legions of people buying it because it's the "latest thing from Apple".
Mayne the market has moved on from how many cores, how fast are they, ... to the user interface and the ecosystem supporting it.
For the people that buy the iPhone they find they are the best choice for them.
People may criticize Apple, but I'd trade my soul to be selling a +$100 Billion product (in profit).
Sapphire phone screens? Is that the same pixie dust material that Vertu phones (running Android, but Symbian before that) have had for years?
Isn´t that little Chinese outfit named Huawei releasing a phone with a Sapphire screen? Ah, yes, the Ascend P7 Sapphire.
What a dissappointment from former market leader, Apple.
"Sapphire phone screens? Is that the same pixie dust material that Vertu phones (running Android, but Symbian before that) have had for years?"
Yeah, to be fair though, Vertu probably glued "sapphire" it on to their latest blinged-up recasing of the Nokia 3310 purely for the sake of making it more expensive. In fact, the top end model in their line includes a "sapphire glass" screen made from the Star of Bombay- it's absolutely unusable, but so obviously high-status that flashing it about is guaranteed to lure 83.7% of high-ranking royalty in most countries into sleeping with you.
Which is nice.
But sapphire is not a glass. It is a crystal, crystalline aluminium oxide. And sapphire is a coloured version of it, as is ruby. It's just that its technical name, corundum, doesn't sound sexy. I guess "silicon on sapphire" sounded better than "silicon on corundum" back in the day.
Glass is an amorphous material. That's why you can stress harden it by ion bombardment, which increases the internal pressure at the surface so the glass remains in compression even if it is bent a bit (which is how gorilla glass works). Do the same thing with corundum and you will break the molecular bonds, weakening it.
I don't expect El Reg to simply regurgitate some market analyst with a shoddy track record.
This is covered in better detail here and proves this market analyst is not that reliable:
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