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back to article EXPLICIT VID: Man filmed trying to bang brand new 'budget iPhone'

Footage has emerged which appears to show that Apple's mysterious cheap new iPhone has a scratch-resistant surface which can take a serious battering and still stay pretty. A video posted on the Taiwanese site Apple Daily shows what it claims is a brand new model of iPhone being tested against several real-world scratch risks. …

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Anonymous Coward

But we all know the glass is the weak point.

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Childcatcher

Weak Point

But we all know the glass is the weak point.

But that might be replaced by SAPPHIRE. It is an Apple product we are talking about, after all.

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Re: Weak Point

We know it's an apple product, and sapphire is a quality material that is resistant to damage, so if history is any predictor, we can be assured that they will NOT be doing that.

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Re: Weak Point

@ Oninoshiko

All those wonderful valid criticisms against Apple that you could have chosen, and you choose the one that can't.

Miserable fail.

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Anonymous Coward

Am I

The only one who expected to see a bit od tech porn? I was wondering whether it had a large enough socket for insertion?

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Sapphire

The glass is a weak point for shattering, but not scratching unless you really really try. Sapphire would make a phone scratchproof against anything but a diamond (or sapphire) ring, but wouldn't do anything to make it less prone to shattering. Actually thanks to its increased hardness it would probably be more prone, and more expensive to replace than currently.

There's also the small issue that sapphire isn't as transparent as glass, and since Apple pays more attention to any other manufacturer to color accuracy on their displays (which is why they use IPS and not AMOLED) using sapphire would complicate getting proper accuracy. It may be doable if the tint is uniform, but if the tint is different depending on the viewing angle, there would be no way to adjust the LCD to get accurate colors at anything but a head on view.

I wonder if anyone knows what mass producing a phone screen coated with sapphire would cost, if these problems were overcome? They probably use something like a sputterer to add the layer, but doing it for millions of tiny camera lenses is a very different proposition from doing it for millions of 4" displays - or larger if the rumors of a larger iPhone coming soon are true.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sapphire

ALD would be a better technique to use in this case IMO, and is one of the applications of ALD that we sell tools for...

AC/DC obv...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sapphire

I don't follow your comment at all. Sapphire has about 80% transmittance (versus 90 for float glass), but its transmission versus wavelength is more or less flat over a much wider range than for float glass, from around 300nM to 4 or 5 microns (which is why it is so useful). Optically it is more than good enough.

The reason for not using sapphire is that it costs more than the alternatives, and isn't as good as regards strength after exposure to abrasives..

Corning demo here

Note that this is based on first exposing the glass to a range of abrasives and then applying the stress test, so it partly reflects the level of scratching.

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Re: Sapphire

I'm skeptical of the Corning test, mostly because I own a lot of watches, about half of which have high quality sapphire crystals. None of my sapphire watches have any damage to the crystal, and one particular abuse I abuse constantly (e.g. working on cars, demo'ing concrete, welding, etc). OTOH, the ones with mineral crystals (e.g. traditional glass) are all scratched, even expensive models that are hardened glass. I would say the sapphire is far stronger than either stainless steel or titanium. Titanium does get surface scratches, but nicking it is near impossible.

I would note that very high end diving watches (e.g. > 500m water resistance, often fluid filled) typically use glass and not sapphire as glass won't fail catastrophically like sapphire does...

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Coat

Re: Yes, but...

Well the man is trying to "bang" the iPhone...

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WTF?

I could usually understand the sense behind............

...........Mr Jobs' marketing strategies but this from the current management..............

"This appointment follows the departure of former retail boss John Browett, as well as Apple's decision to give a fitness expert called Jay Blahnik a job. The healthy living guru used to work for Nike and is thought to be on board to help Cupertino develop its near-mythical iWatch."

..........leaves me utterly mystified.

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Re: I could usually understand the sense behind............

Seems pretty straightforward.

The Levi's guy: We're building mass-market phones so we want our shops to be more trendy-for-kids and less up-their-own-arse-for-graphic-designers.

The fitness guy: We really have no idea why we're building an iWatch except maybe slimmers/gymbodies/runners will wear them to track metrics so we'd like to know what real people want to see as we really don't know - we spend all hours in the office not the gym.

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Are Reg hacks really unable to tell the difference between a USB stick and a small vibrator? Your office must be a fun place to work.

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I'd guess there are vibrating USB sticks around by now. So, it's not necessarily mutually exclusive. Lester Haines, any ideas on this?

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Mushroom

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/17/crave_duet_usb_drive_cum_vibrator/

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Anonymous Coward

If it's liquid metal ...

am i holding it wrong when it runs between my fingers?

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"Liquid Metal". What's the phone's model number.... T-1000?

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Wouldn't this liquid metal be more expensive to produce than plastic or aluminum? If so, wouldn't make much sense to use it on the 'cheap' iPhone

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Liquid metal price

It would probably be between the two, as the machined aluminum Apple uses in the 5 is far from inexpensive, though perhaps the reason Apple hasn't used it yet is that they're trying to get the cost of production reduced.

If Apple is going to produce phones in colors, it only makes sense if they are durable enough that people will want to not use a case. Otherwise, what's the point?

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Re: Liquid metal price

"If Apple is going to produce phones in colors, it only makes sense if they are durable enough that people will want to not use a case. Otherwise, what's the point?"

The release of the white iPhone4 was almost as exciting to some as the iPhone4 - yet most people who "upgraded" to this same phone in different colour stuck it straight into a case anyway. Why would a more fruity colour change that?

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But will it blend?

It's gotta be good for _something_.

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It's plastic

Obviously, because there's no way to put antennas behind Liquid Metal (or any other metal) and there're also no visible cuts/divisions you'd need to turn parts of the case into antennas (as Apple did with the 4/S).

Also, Apple will need to keep the 5S visibly more "high end" and this means plastic for the cheaper one.

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Terminator

Re: It's plastic

I have to agree here; the noise audible in the video shouts "plastic!" Maybe ceramic-coated?

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FAIL

Re: It's plastic

The aluminum back of my iPhone 5 begs to differ with your antenna comment.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's plastic

The glass inlays at the top and bottom of the back of your iPhone 5 beg to differ with your differing.

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Re: It's plastic

The glass inlays at the top and bottom of the back of your iPhone 5 beg to differ with your differing.

Unfortunately an anecdotal single example doesn't trump Maxwell.

Wavelength of radio waves at a couple of GHz = 15cm.

Possible thickness of a metal case = 3mm tops.

Apply basic wave theory...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's plastic...Apply basic wave theory

How? You've lost me. I am always willing to learn.

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Boffin

Re: It's plastic

i'm so sorry to inform you that the basic wave theory classes want their time with you back ....

Metals, as a conductors, impose a B/H field value of 0 at their surface for high enough frequency and a reasonably small value for 0 ....

Remember all those pesky contour settings in the maxwell equations ? Faraday Cages ?

So, no, radio waves won't travel across a conducting metal ... that's where the glass inlays come to.

Albert

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Errr.

Looks like an iPhone in a case to me!

Possible new range of cases by some unknown firm perhaps?

D

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Bah!

Better idea: Clad the things in Wood's Metal and include a mould. If it gets dinged, put it in the mould and put the mould in hot water. Instant new and shiny.

Cheap and fun. Wood's Metal is not suitable for children or people who suck their phones. Dropping the iPhone uFix edition in a Stirbux Bucket O' Latte will void warranty and ruin the coffee (though personally I think all Stirbux products taste like paraffin-burned battery acid). Stevielabs not responsible for Cadmium poisoning due to ingestion of Wood's Metal jacket. Treat it as a phone and you should be ok.

Compared to me Jobs was a piker in the Genius Ideas arena.

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Joke

Re: Bah!

Field's metal is less toxic.

You would not like to make an poisoned Apple, Snow White

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bah!

Slightly OT, perhaps the Apple logo is a very clever hide-in-plain-sight admission that Alan Turing was actually murdered by the US computer industry to prevent the UK from keeping its technical lead.

Tinfoil? I prefer mumetal.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bah! - Woods metal

Not only is it very soft, it isn't very shiny. Having a phone that could suffer a case melt in bright sunshine has its own downsides.

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Re: Bah! - Woods metal

"Not only is it very soft, it isn't very shiny. Having a phone that could suffer a case melt in bright sunshine has its own downsides."

Not from where I'm standing. What makes you believe I didn't think through the "repeat sales" angle?

iPhone U-Fix edition, brining the Dali aesthetic to a summers day.

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Devil

Re: Bah!

"You would not like to make an poisoned Apple, Snow White"

I believe that I just said I *would*.

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As much as i hate Apple..

As much as i hate Apple..

I don't have a single Apple device, i don't like them and even if i did i don't have the money needed to buy anything they make.

But they do however always manage to make new stuff mainstream before anyone else does.

Yes, the power of the fanboi is strong in this one but i remember waiting for tablet-like devices for over 10 years and Apple managed to get them into our lives without breaking much of a sweat.

Most of what i have scratches and i hate cases. This is also nice.

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Re: As much as i hate Apple..

"But they do however always manage to make new stuff mainstream before anyone else does."

It's not difficult to be the first to market if you've got an exclusive contract and you sit on it for a while. If Samsung had the usage rights, I reckon there'd be several models using it by now...

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Devil

Re: As much as i hate Apple..

I'm kind of pissed off at that. I too would like an unscratchable phone, but not enough to buy an iPhone.

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doesn't look like a real phone

looks like a case around an iphone 4/s... why are there like, huge gaps between the camera opening and whatever is inside the case? if this is real the build quality looks atrocious.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: doesn't look like a real phone

Thats because its just an empty case - there are no innards there!

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Boffin

Titanium Comparison

Titanium is quite strong but is also extremely prone to galling (looks like smudges, to the naked eye). Therefore comparing LiquidMetal to titanium in a simulation to emulate scratch resistance from the metallic contents of pants pockets, is a rather poor one :)

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Re: Titanium Comparison

The problem with such comparisons is that there are about five ways to measure a material's strength, only some of which matter in particular uses. A material can be 'hard' but prone to shattering (diamonds) or be impossible to shatter but easy to bend, impossible to bend but easy to scratch, and so on.

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No relation?

Is that "fitness expert" Jay Blahnik any relation to Manolo, of women's feetal coverings fame?

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Happy

Re: No relation?

WTF is a 'woman's feetal covering'? Like a radiation shield for unborn female babies? What is it? I must know!

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Anonymous Coward

We see the front of the phone...

Surely, the most important point of this video *IF* it's real is the fact that we see the front of the phone...

It shows two things, from the limited view we get:

a) It looks like it's the iPhone 4 form factor (i.e. smaller screen).

b) The home button is still present and is NOT protruding as we keep being told the 5S will be, for the fingerprint scanning.

Does this mean fingerprint scanning isn't coming, or that iPhone 5C is less secure...(sort of, not really, but, you know what I mean...).

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Coat

Fake!

The video has an obvious crossfade at about 1:20 so all that messing about with the plastic bag was a waste of time.

I never knew that my "liquid metal" SIM card extractor was supposed to be tougher than titanium. As a quick experiment I've just dug it out of my drawer, stuffed it in a plastic bag full of scrap metal bits and given the bag a good shake. Now I can't find it! Does any one remember what it looked like?

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Re: Fake!

It's the one which is liquid, natch.

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Ceramic?

It is just possible even the cheap coloured iPhone might boast a ceramic case. Or one with a ceramic coating. Pretty high tech, but vastly nicer than a simple plastic. That might account for the scratch resistance. (Titanium Nitride is technically also ceramic, and is the nice gold colour you see on some drill bits. On the higher priced iPhone that could be worth having, even if it is gold.)

The device in the video had an Apple and iPhone branding, I don't think Apple are exactly pleased if these appear on third party products, even cases for iPhones.

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