What me, worry? Not Corning. The Gorilla Glass maker has just unveiled a new type of glass which they say is just as hard (and therefore unscratchable) as sapphire. They’re calling it Project Phire. Go figure.
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In the lead-up to the iPhone 6, everyone expected Apple to give it a sapphire glass display. Sapphire glass, it was said, would lead to nigh-indestructible screens: Scratched and shattered iPhone displays would become a thing of the past.
Of course, we all know what happened from there. Apple’s sapphire partner, GT Advanced Technologies, completely collapsed, and the iPhone 6 shipped with plain old Gorilla Glass. Yet even if it hadn’t, Apple might not have used sapphire glass, which was much more reflective and harder to read in ambient light than Gorilla Glass.
But here’s the key word: was. A new technology has emerged that might make sapphire glass every bit as good when it comes to viewability as Gorilla Glass.
Corning’s relationship with Apple looked doomed earlier this year. Having manufactured the touchscreens for every iPhone since 2007, the Gorilla Glass bosses were all but sure they were being ditched in favor of synthetic sapphire crystal, set to be supplied by Apple’s hot new partner, GT Advanced Technologies.
But while Apple’s affair with GT has imploded spectacularly, Corning is back on Cupertino’s crush list after stepping in at the eleventh hour to create super-sized displays for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Now Corning is convinced its latest technological advance — Gorilla Glass 4, its toughest version yet — will banish sapphire suitors for the immediate future.
“Sapphire is a really, really nice material that’s very good for reducing scratches,” Dave Velasquez, Corning’s director of marketing and commercial ops, told Cult of Mac. “However, we feel very strongly that glass is the best material for touch panel cover glass. When you weigh up everything from cost to drop-testing, to the amount of energy that’s needed to make it, in our opinion Gorilla Glass is clearly the best material to use.”
What’s your iPhone made of? Just looking at it, you might dismiss it as just a slab of metal and glass, with a dose of magic inside. But our iPhones are actually portable chemistry labs, and there are an incredible number of complex chemical functions happening underneath the glass and metal shell that keep your iPhone ringing.
Depending on who and when you ask, the iPhone 6 may or may not ship with a futuristic new Sapphire Glass display. Widely rumored to be nigh-invulnerable, Sapphire Glass is widely believed to be the technology that will make shattered iPhones a thing of the past. But will it really?
Seeking answers, the repair experts over at uBreakiFix have taken a piece of Gorilla Glass and a piece of Sapphire Glass through a series of torture tests to see which resists damage better. And the truth is that Sapphire isn’t actually as good as Gorilla Glass in one key scenario.
We got our first taste of the flexibility of the iPhone 6’s new sapphire glass display this morning, but in a new video posted by YouTuber Marques Brownlee, Apple’s super-tough new display is subjected to a brutal scratch test and comes away completely unscathed.
To test Sapphire glass’ durability, Marques stabs an alleged 4.7-inch iPhone 6 sapphire display repeatedly with a knife after a quick key scratch test yields no results. Both tests fail to make a dent on the display panel, but your mouth will drop when you see him forcefully try to bend the display with his foot.
Check out how insanely durable your iPhone 6 will be in the video below:
In news that will come as a shock to absolutely no one, it seems that Corning Glass (makers of Gorilla Glass) aren’t big fans of Sapphire glass.
Asked by Morgan Stanley analyst James Fawcett his thoughts about “one large handset and device maker” planning to use Sapphire in its products, Tony Tripeny, a senior vice president at Corning Glass, responded that:
Today Corning announced that it’s ready to manufacture a new 3D-shaped Gorilla glass for availability this year. The new glass is designed with curved phone and wearable displays in mind.
As the main glass supplier for iOS devices, Corning’s 3D Gorilla glass could very well end up in future Apple products.
Although Apple doesn’t like to talk too much about it, they admit right on their official website that all of the glass used in their iPhone and iPad displays are made by Corning, makers of Gorilla Glass.
Corning’s always looking to make their glass stronger, thinner and more useful to Apple, though, which is why they’ve just announced Corning Lotus XT Glass, which looks to be a prime contender for use in the upcoming iPhone 5S, iPad 5 and iPad mini 2.
The video above, frankly, is pretty boring. Here’s what you need to know: Lotus XT Glass is a new type of glass from Corning that is specifically designed for use in high-performance displays, like Retina displays. Its primary characteristics are that they allow more light through, so Lotus XT Glass reduces power draw (light goes through easier, so a backlight needs to do less to compensate) and increase color vibrancy. In addition, Lotus XT Glass is easier for manufacturers to work with, reducing manufacturing costs and increasing yields.
Press release is after the jump.
LAS VEGAS, CES 2013 – I don’t care how battered and beaten the backs of my devices get. In fact, I kind of like the scars – they add character. But even the tiniest scratch on the screen drives me crazy. So I’m pretty stoked about Corning’s brand new Gorilla Glass 3, which promises to shrug off sharp stuff even better than before.