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back to article Apple 'sapphire glass' fronts for iPhone 6? It's NEWS to SUPPLIERS

Several Apple analysts have speculated over the past few months that the next iPhone and perhaps even the near-mythical iWatch will use super-tough sapphire glass in some capacity. But that claim has been thrown into question after the industrial analysis firm TrendForce claimed a tiny issue – not actually having the sapphire …

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I am sure there will be plenty of components about magical air/reality distortion force fields but perhaps all the analysts just got it wrong this time.

Releasing two version of the watch, one with and the other without sapphire glass could backfire. They ones without would be the new 5C telling people you couldn’t quite afford the real thing.

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Coat

Well, they have to have a "revolutionary" new feature to sell on the 6S, don't they?

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Anonymous Coward

When rumours get punched in the gizzards

and yet the press still give the time of day to the same old soothsayers, daydreamers and desperate media whores.

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Stop

Another day

....another random guess at another random Apple product.

Bored now.

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Re: Another day

Another day, another person who still clicks through and generates a unique visit thus justifying the article's existence..

Keep reading it, they'll keep writing it.

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Re: Another day

And all you have do is to look at what the competition all ready has - although I think laser aka the LG G3 is way to cool for apple :-)

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What does global sapphire demand have to do with Apple screens?

The article cites lack of change-in-demand for sapphire as evidence that Apple won't be using the material in its forthcoming iPhone 6. But I don't see the correlation. If, has been widely reported, Apple's entire sapphire demand will be met by one manufacturer (GTAT) and that manufacturer will not be selling to anyone else, why would global sapphire demand show a change? Is the guess that, because Apple is rumored to be using the material, other smartphone makers must be clamoring for the material, trying to copy Apple? I find that highly doubtful, given that other sapphire manufacturers cannot produce the material at the cost or scale GTAT can (with Apple's help).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What does global sapphire demand have to do with Apple screens?

Far from me to stick a tentative toe in the shadowy world of analysts, but maybe something could be picked up from observing raw materials demand? I'm not sure what goes into sapphire glass (well, other than sapphire), maybe unicorns, but that's where I would look.

OTOH, I don't care that much. I'm interested in Apple products, but not at a cult level. I don't buy new products until they're at least 6 months old (not just Apple's, any), so rumours are at best of passing interest. Allow me thus to yawn and ignore yet another analyst...

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Re: What does global sapphire demand have to do with Apple screens?

The raw material (aluminium oxide) is available in rather large amounts because its main use is in aluminium production. So bauxite demand might not be significantly affected,

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Re: What does global sapphire demand have to do with Apple screens?

Yeah, raw material demand might be a giveaway - but that's not what the article cited - they went for "sapphire cover glass" demand - i.e. the processed good.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What does global sapphire demand have to do with Apple screens?

But wouldn't mass-produced alumina tend to have more impurities, and so it would only be the production of higher "quality" alumina sources that needed to be monitored?

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Facepalm

Call me cynical

... but this smells like a chance to sell the same phone twice to the same people. Once on launch with non-saphire, and then again in 6 months time WITH saphire.

I was not impressed with "the men who made us spend" - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01zxm9b - which followed people queuing for the last iphone, one punter in the queue who queued for a long time, but cited colour for the reason to be buying a new iphone. Not security, not faster processor, not larger screen ... colour.

Still, it's his money. Oh, sorry, WAS.

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Re: Call me cynical

Yes, because Apple is always coming out with another iPhone 6 months after the first.

Oh wait...

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Re: Call me cynical

<< which followed people queuing for the last iphone, one punter in the queue who queued for a long time, but cited colour for the reason to be buying a new iphone. Not security, not faster processor, not larger screen ... colour. >>

I think the programme was valid but perhaps this tells us that in the main phones are good enough now to do what we want them to do so differentiation by colour is more important to the average punter. That certainly used to be the case 15 years ago where most phones managed to do the same thing (calls and texts) and so people were more interested in colours than marginal new tech.

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Not scratched the glass on my (almost) two year old Nokia despite accidentally trying my best at every opportunity. That uses Gorilla Glass as I understand it so I am not really sure how much more scratch proof a screen needs to be?

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Anonymous Coward

It's an elite sounding gimmick which makes iPeople feel superior to everyone else.

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Anonymous Coward

"It's an elite sounding gimmick which makes iPeople feel superior to everyone else."

You mean like gorilla glass used to be but now every phone manufacturer now uses?

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But this gimmick costs Apple money

Not like the brilliant shortage of first white iPhone and then Gold iPhone.

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I met this woman the other day...

... and noticed she had a Nokia 920. Oh! I said, I had that one.

"It is a bit heavy for me, my husband got the iPhone."

"Still", I said, "This one takes better pictures and is a lot, lot tougher."

"It is tough" she said, "I got out of the car with it on my lap and someone came into the café later and said, 'Did you drop your phone outside?'".

And then a car, followed by a caravan drove over said 920.

To which I basically said, it may be heavier but at least you still have a working phone, there is no way an iPhone would have survived it, especially the iPhone 4.

Don't sent me a link to a video of a car carefully driving over an iPhone on lovely smooth tarmac because this was a well-worn road with a substantial amber and a lot of edgy stones.

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I think this is about making the screen shatter proof rather than scratch proof.

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Indeed... In all the years I've had mobiles (20+) I've only ever broken one screen... And that was when it fell out of my pocket and got run over by a Land Rover! Even then the glass (being old fashioned, non super hard - and brittle - glass) didn't break, but it obviously flexed enough to kill the LCD panel underneath.

My current phone (a Nexus 4) is 18 months old, used daily, has no screen (or rear glass) protector, just the standard optional bumper case (which has saved it from a couple of drops), and do you know what? When you take the bumper case off, and give it a polish, it looks new.

Why?

Because I don't throw is in a pocket with all my keys and small change, or a handbag full of what is best described as "life-gravel"! It lives in a pocket, on its own, as have all my mobiles.

Treat your phone like the essential (and valuable) piece of kit that it is, and it will last.

Kick it about like a football, or sandblast it with coins and keys and it won't.

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Scratchproof or shatterproof?

I agree the utility of further resistance to scratches is minimal, since current Gorilla Glass does a pretty good job. However, Gorilla Glass ain't all that great at shatter resistance, and that is where I think the sapphire will make an impact (no pun intended)

Based on the videos that have been shown, it looks like Apple is using some sort of sapphire composite. I base that on the fact that it can be scratched by regular sandpaper (Mohs 8.5) and garnet sandpaper (Mohs 7.5) when pure sapphire is Mohs 9.0. Also the fact that the screen was able to be bent at a 90* angle, which I can't rule out for pure sapphire but it seems highly unlikely to me.

The "worst case" situation for clumsy people with smartphones is a drop on concrete. If it lands wrong the screen will shatter, and even if it doesn't land wrong if it isn't a straight drop but they're bumped and the phone goes flying out of their hands and lands face down the concrete can scratch the face as it slides along the sidewalk (because the quartz in the sand in the cement is Mohs 7.0, harder than Gorilla Glass)

I haven't seen a test of rubbing the new screen against quartz/sand/concrete, but if it survives that, even the clumsiest person should not need a case (well, assuming the rest of the phone is as durable as the face, which won't be the case if they continue to use aluminum!) The immense flexibility of the screen means it will be shatterproof for all practical purposes. Any impact large enough to shatter the fact would almost certainly destroy the phone anyway - so no running over it with a car or dropping out of a fourth story hotel room, but it would emerge unscathed after the "normal" from your head/hands to your feet drop.

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jai
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who more anal, the analyst or the analyst who analyses him?

So, one analyst is claiming that other analysts don't know what they're talking about?

He's actually done some research and looked some real numbers, which is first because from what I can tell, most analysts get their data from the tea leaves at the bottom of their chai latte, or the patterns made in goats intestines and from casting animal bones.

I suspect the rest of his industry will soon disown him and likely duck him in water or prepare a burning stake....

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bri

Re: who more anal, the analyst or the analyst who analyses him?

We'll see in September. I really don't know what the fuss is about. Speaking of research - what research had he done, pray tell? I still see some remains of dried tea leaves...

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Re: who more anal, the analyst or the analyst who analyses him?

Do two analysts who don't know what they are talking about know less than a single analyst who doesn't know what he's talking about?

Experience (and anecdotes) have shown that is in fact the case. Two clueless analysts will encourage one another to go out on a limb that a single analyst would be too cautious to attempt.

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