Future Smartphones May Include Displays Made Of Sapphire Instead Of Glass

While Apple has earned much praise for its iPhone design aesthetic, it also has received criticism for durability problems, with many users experiencing the issues after dropping their smartphones onto hard surfaces.

In the fifth-generation iPod touch and iPhone 5 Apple began using sapphire crystal in order to cover the rear camera of the devices, providing superior scratch resistance and durability. Apple notes:

 “Although the surface of the iSight camera is as clear as glass, it’s not made of glass. It’s actually sapphire crystal, whose hardness is second only to diamond on the scale of transparent materials. That means the surface of the lens is far less likely to scratch”.

MIT Technology Review reports that smartphone owners may find their entire displays covered by sapphire rather than glass in the near future. An analyst from the market research company Yole Développement Eric Virey says that while sapphire probably will not be as cheap as Corning’s Gorilla Glass, which is used to make displays on iPhones and other smartphones, it will be cheaper enough to compete with Gorilla Glass in a couple of years due to increasing competition and improving technology.

Virey notes that all major mobile phone manufacturers are considering replacing glass with sapphire and some may release smartphones using sapphire as soon as late this year. However the report does not mentioned whether Apple is seriously considering extending it use of sapphire beyond the cover glass for the iPhone camera.

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