New iPhones could feature shatter-proof screens
SHATTEREDiPhone screens could be a thing of the past, if rumours that Apple is looking to harness the properties of scratch-proof sapphire are true.
The technology giant is said to be collaborating with the US-based GT Advanced Technologies, whose documents reveal that they hve ordered hundreds of furnaces and chamber systems to produce sapphire crystal boules, according to 9to5Mac.
It is expected the boules will be used to produce between 100 million and 200 million smartphone display covers a year.
Sapphires are known to be the second-hardest natural material next to diamonds, and would prove to be a highly resilient screen cover.
Apple currently uses sapphire to protect iPhone camera lenses and TouchID fingerprint sensors but the new tools ordered by the Arizona firm are thought to be for screen covers, which could be introduced into the next generation of iPhones.
However, the crystals have not yet been used in this way because of prohibitive prices. Sapphire screens can be cost 10 times more than current scratch-proof screen technology.
According to an MIT Technology Review paper published last year, instead of pure sapphire, layers of sapphire with cheaper transparent material are likely to be used to make the process cheaper.