Apple will use durable, scratch resistant sapphire rather than traditional glass for the screens on its upcoming smartwatch and iPhone, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.
The report notes the first of these sapphire displays will be rolling off the production line as early as this month in Apple’s Arizona-based facility.
Apple may use these sapphire displays in more expensive models of the iPhone 6, while also offering a lower-cost version with a standard glass display. It’s unclear if this means that the rumoured 5.5-inch iPhone will use sapphire while the expected 4.7-inch version will use glass.
Apple already uses sapphire as a protective cover for the camera lens on the iPhone, but we have yet to see the material used more broadly because it’s expensive to produce. If Apple’s upcoming iPhone and rumoured iWatch do come with sapphire displays, they will be among the first consumer devices to do so.
Sapphire is considered to be much more durable than glass. Since it’s one of the hardest minerals in the world, it doesn’t scratch or crack nearly as easily as glass does. It can also withstand high temperatures.
The Journal notes that Apple is developing a synthetic sapphire material for its devices that’s meant to replicate these properties.
We’ve been hearing rumours about Apple integrating sapphire into its products for months, and the Journal’s report further fuels those claims. Back in July, prominent YouTube gadget reviewer put what he claims is the iPhone 6’s display through a brutal torture test, which included bending it under his shoe and scratching it with a knife. It came away from these tests without a single scathe.
Reports about the iWatch suggest it will be a mix of fitness-related features and luxury aesthetics. Apple is said to be testing the gadget with all-star athletes like NBA star Kobe Bryant, and the company has poached executives from luxury brands over the past few months to presumably work on the watch.
Apple is expected to take the wraps off its new iPhone on September 9, while the iWatch is rumoured to debut in October or November.
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