iPhone 6 Sapphire Display Confirmed? Expert Who Spoke To Apple Claims Rumors Are True
An expert who claims he had contact with Apple when they were first researching sapphire glass believes the sixth-generation smartphone shown in recent video leaks does appear to be made of the material, BGR reports.
In an interview with The Guardian, professor Neil Alford of the department of materials at Imperial College in London revealed that he believes rumors about a very tough sapphire glass display are true.
“In my opinion the screen being shown off in the video could well be a sapphire screen,” Alford said, referring to this Youtube video. “If you make sapphire thin enough, and it’s flaw free, you can bend it quite considerably because it has an enormous strength.”
“I think they will be doing some sort of a lamination – binding different crystal cuts of sapphire together – boosting the toughness of the material, while they may also have induced some sort of a strain in the surface of the glass – either compression or tension – which means that it has extra strength,” Alford said.
“I think Apple has been quite cunning. What I think they’ve done is make a screen out of sapphire, which is incredibly scratch resistant, incredibly hard and has a high elastic modulus – meaning it’s very stiff.”
Alford then revealed that Apple contacted him during their research process:
“I remember the Apple folk coming to speak to me about 18 months ago to discuss sapphire screens,” Alford said. “They’ve obviously been busy since then, working with a sapphire manufacturer.”
“It’s not a surprising thing to do, but it’s quite a large area they’re producing and that’s really quite a challenge. I’m pretty impressed with that, actually,” he added.
While Alford believes that sapphire glass would be a solid, durable material for the rumored device, he did question the ability to mass produce it.
“The big issue is how you slice it and polish it because of the hardness of sapphire crystals,” Alford said. “It’s quite problematic; they’ll be forced to use diamond slicers to cut the sapphire for instance.”
“If they can manage the costs, I don’t think there are any downsides to using sapphire at all. It’s a great idea,” he noted.
While both iPhone 6 models — and possibly the iWatch — are believed to be releasing with sapphire glass, it has also been rumored that only the larger, 5.5-inch model will get the more durable display, according to BGR.