corning Stories July 20

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Corning, the company behind the popular Gorilla Glass brand, today announced the next iteration of its cover glass for mobile displays, a likely candidate for future Apple devices including the iPhone 7. Corning says that Gorilla Glass 5 survives drops onto rough surfaces four times better than other solutions, noting that clarity of the display and touch sensitivity are not affected.

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Time is reporting that, in contrast to the many rumors (and GTAT investor claims), Apple had never planned to use sapphire displays for the iPhone 6, and the company may not use it for future iPhones.

Some reports stated that up until a few weeks before the iPhone announcement, Apple was going to use sapphire but dropped it because of yield issues. This is not true. My sources tell me that sapphire was never targeted for the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus and its role in future iPhones hasn’t even been decided yet.

Speculation about sapphire displays for the iPhone 6 began when Apple built a major new manufacturing facility in Arizona last November. But Time‘s Tim Bajarin says that while the scratch-resistance of the material may have made it sound superficially appealing, there were no fewer than five reasons it would not have made sense to use the material for the iPhone 6 display …

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While it’s not yet certain that the iPhone 6 screen will get a sapphire layer, that’s certainly the way things look at present – providing a screen that is pretty much impervious to scratches (though no more resistant to breakage).

The problem with sapphire is it’s about ten times as expensive as Gorilla Glass. There have been vague suggestions that new manufacturing techniques might narrow the gap, but it still seems likely that Apple will have to sacrifice a bit of margin to introduce the material.

That’s likely a cost the company can afford, given the marketing benefit of an effectively scratchproof screen. But will we also see sapphire screens on iPads … ?  expand full story


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