2013 demo video shows an iPhone with a synthetic sapphire display

BY Kelly Hodgkins

Published 8 Feb 2014

sapphire-iphoneA recent report suggests the sapphire will land in the next generation iPhone as a display material. The company allegedly acquiring the necessary hardware to produce enough sapphire to outfit almost 200 million iPhones with this tough-as-nails material. Just how tough will it be? Watch these videos below to find out.

Before its name was associated with Apple, the then-obscure GT Advanced was present at Mobile World Conference 2013 to showcase its sapphire technology. The company, ironically, had iPhones that were equipped with full-screen sapphire screen protectors. Though the video is almost a year old, it still provides us with a glimpse at how a future sapphire-equipped iPhone may perform.

According to GT Advanced, sapphire is 2.5 times stronger than reinforced glass material like Gorilla Glass. It’s also scratch resistant and rigid. In the video below, the material is so hard that the concrete is actually breaking up into smaller pieces that must be brushed off the screen. Sapphire may resist scratches, but it’s not free from impact damage. GT Advanced confirmed the glass will still shatter upon impact, but said its shatter point is higher than that of Gorilla Glass.

The biggest drawback to sapphire is the manufacturing cost, which is 3-4 times more expensive than reinforced glass. That manufacturing cost will come down with mass production, which is where Apple and its Arizona plant step in. Apple has the cash, while GT Advanced has the technology to kick-start sapphire production in a big way.