Today in Apple history: Apple’s sapphire dreams shatter

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Apple is gobbling up sapphire supplies at an alarming rate of knots. Photo:
A sapphire glass screen was the most-requested possible feature for iPhone 6.
Photo: GT Advanced Technologies

8 October: Today in Apple history: Apple's sapphire dreams shatter as iPhone 6 sapphire screen is a no show October 8, 2014: Apple says it is “surprised” after GT Advanced Technologies, the supplier rumored to be manufacturing ultra-strong sapphire glass displays for the new iPhone 6, says it will file for bankruptcy.

The announcement appears to mark the end of the road for sapphire glass iPhone screens, a highly anticipated upgrade that promised to make devices more durable.

Apple awards $45 million to the company that helps make tough iPhone screens

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Corning's Silicon Valley research center
Corning's Silicon Valley research center.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple is handing another $45 million to the company which makes Gorilla Glass for the iPhone. Announced Monday, Apple’s eight-figure award will help Corning “expand manufacturing” and “drive research and development” in the United States.

It’s part of Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund, dedicated to supporting American businesses that are creating the jobs of the future. But, like the recent $410 million cash injection to the company that makes laser components for the iPhone, it also helps out Apple’s future plans.

‘Fumble’ ad shows off the durability of iPhone’s Ceramic Shield

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Fumble
We've all been in this situation.
Photo: Apple

Apple ads consistently find fun, accessible ways of showcasing features without having to resort to technobabble. Case in point: Its new ad showing off the Ceramic Shield for the iPhone 12.

Apple could easily fill a 30-second ad talking about how this specially engineered glass is heat-treated so as to develop nano crystals similar to the ones found in ceramics, which are embedded into the glass matrix of the display. It could talk about the difference between hardness and toughness, and give percentage improvements over last year’s model.

But it doesn’t. Because most people only want to know whether this means they can drop their iPhone without it breaking. That’s where the “Fumble” ad comes in.

iPhone 12 mini is the ultimate one-handed phone [Review]

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iPhone 12 mini
The iPhone 12 mini is a hot little number.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Buying a compact smartphone used to mean making some big sacrifices. You either had to settle for an older model, or you had to opt for an Android handset (ugh!). That’s no longer the case, thanks to iPhone 12 mini.

iPhone 12 mini makes no compromises. It’s not a watered-down version of the larger iPhone 12; it is an iPhone 12 that’s squeezed into a smaller body. It has a gorgeous Super Retina XDR display, a blazing-fast A14 Bionic processor, great cameras, 5G and Face ID.

What’s missing? Absolutely nothing! If you want a small smartphone that has it all, iPhone 12 mini is the only option.

iPhone 12 Pro Max: Bigger, bolder and undeniably better [Review]

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iPhone 12 Pro Max: The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the biggest and best yet.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the biggest and best yet.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

The biggest and best version of iPhone 12 has finally landed. The iPhone 12 Pro Max takes everything that makes this year’s iPhone lineup so terrific and combines it with an even bigger screen and a better camera. Apple calls it “the photographer’s iPhone,” but really, it’s the best smartphone going for anyone who likes super-sized displays.

iPhone 12 Pro Max is Apple’s biggest smartphone to date, with a Super Retina XDR display that measures at 6.7 inches diagonally. It’s also the fastest handset on the market, thanks to an incredibly speedy A14 Bionic processor that’s coupled with 5G connectivity (where available).

However, the Pro Max is just one of four iPhone 12 options available this year —- and it’s the most expensive of the bunch. Is it worth it?

iPhone 12 Ceramic Shield display proves far tougher than iPhone 11

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An iPhone 12 drop test shows that it’s very, very hard to break.
Don’t try this at home.
Screenshot: PhoneBuff

A new type of screen protection built into the iPhone 12 series helped it survive a brutal drop test better than its predecessor. Both the standard model and the Pro went through multiple drops directly onto the display without breaking.

That wasn’t the case when the identical test was done on the iPhone 11 Pro Max in 2019. But that model older doesn’t have Ceramic Shield.

Some users complain about scratched screens on iPhone 12 [UPDATED]

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iPhone 12 pricing is lower for Verizon and AT&T customers.
Evidence isn't conclusive.
Photo: Apple

Apple says the iPhone 12’s Ceramic Shield display makes it 4x less likely to break when dropped than previous iPhones. But, within days of the first iPhone 12 and 12 Pro handsets arriving, some buyers are complaining about scratches on their screens.

UPDATE: A rigorous test shows that Apple’s latest handsets are not easily scratched.

So what’s going on?