We’ve been hearing rumours for months now that Apple will start using sapphire rather than traditional glass for its iPhone’s screen.
Now, a materials expert previously consulted by Apple said he believes a recently leaked video claiming to show a super durable sapphire screen is legitimate.
YouTube user Marques Brownlee recently posted a video showing a purported iPhone 6 display undergoing brutal stress tests, which included being scratched with a knife and bent underneath the sole of his shoe.
Sonny Dickson, a blogger that’s been known to leak legitimate Apple products in the past, sent Brownlee the display component.
Professor Neil Alford from the department of materials at London’s Imperial College told The Guardian that the 4.7-inch display shown in the video is likely made of sapphire. What makes Alford’s input more credible than other experts in his field is the fact that Apple consulted him about making sapphire screens 18 months ago.
Here’s what Alford told The Guardian:
I think Apple have been quite cunning. What I think they have 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 … In my opinion the screen being shown off in the video could well be a sapphire screen. If you make sapphire thin enough, and it’s flaw free, you can bend it quite considerably because it has an enormous strength.
Alford went on to explain sapphire is tougher and harder than glass, which means it’s more resistant to scratches and scrapes.
Apple already uses sapphire as a cover for the camera lens on the iPhone. Plenty of luxury watches also use sapphire rather than glass for their watch faces. But sapphire is expensive to make in large quantities, which is why we rarely see it being used for smartphone displays.
Apple wouldn’t necessarily be the first or the only smartphone maker to experiment with sapphire displays. A new report from CNET reports rugged smartphone maker Kyocera is also creating a phone with a sturdy sapphire display.
Luxury smartphone brand Vertu uses sapphire crystal for some of its incredibly expensive high-end Android smartphones. Apple, however, could be the first to bring sapphire to a mainstream consumer phone.