Apple unveiled a new range of iPhones at the Flint Center in Cupertino, California on Tuesday, and improved sapphire displays were in attendance -- as part of a wearable product category, the Apple Watch range.
The industry standard is Gorilla Glass. This type of material is found in smartphones, tablets, laptops and television screens, to name but a few. Gorilla Glass is tempered and treated in a potassium ion bath at high temperatures to compress the structure of the glass and make it far harder to shatter, scratch or break than standard glass. In comparison, sapphire glass is synthetically made by treating aluminum oxide and heating to at least 3,700F. This results in a clear material which is extremely difficult to damage or scratch -- far beyond the capabilities of Gorilla Glass.
The rumormill, which goes into overdrive before the iPad and iPhone maker is due to launch a new product, speculated that sapphire glass would potentially feature in the next range of iPhones. It was not to be in this product cycle -- but why?
The infographic below, provided by business visual content provider Visual Capitalist, explains the problems associated with the production and manufacture of sapphire glass-based products. Among these issues are the difficulties of producing flaw-free sapphire glass -- as the smallest flaw would compromise the integrity of the display -- the involved and long process of growing synthetic sapphire crystals, and, naturally, the price of production.