Apple Inc. has a new love that may only be exceeded by its love for clean energy. This new love is sapphire glass, and it could just be the next big thing when it comes to smartphone screens.
Sapphire glass is made through a process that takes more than two weeks to complete, and requires the ingredients to be heated to 2,100 degrees Celsius. The end result is a product that is virtually scratch proof. The video below explains how the process works.
Apple’s Arizona Glass Factory
Apple has invested heavily in a new factory in Arizona that will manufacture sapphire glass for its new display screens. The agreement Apple signed with GT Advanced Technologies to produce the glass involved Apple paying $578 million in advance to the company. The factory will reportedly create 2,000 jobs in the Mesa area, including the construction jobs involved with building the facility. In theory, sheets of sapphire could be sliced thinner than a human hair, which would make it the most lightweight, durable screen material ever invented.
How Does Sapphire Compare To Gorilla Glass?
The cost of sapphire compared to manufacturing Corning’s Gorilla Glass is nearly ten times more expensive. The reason for this is partially that Gorilla Glass has already been around for a while, so the process for manufacturing it has been streamlined. However, sapphire glass is a brand new item on the market, and is sure to be a hot commodity for a while. The cost for a smartphone screen made out of Gorilla Glass is in the $3 price range, while a sapphire glass screen will cost closer to $30. Estimates say that once production of sapphire becomes more commonplace, the cost will be reduced to only three to four times that of Gorilla Glass.
Apple is rumored to be prepping the iPhone 6 to launch sometime next year. According to reports, the phone will utilize sapphire glass for its display screen, which is highly believable. At the current time, Apple uses sapphire glass on its iPhone 5s, but only for the Touch ID button, not the whole screen. If the iPhone 6 sports sapphire glass as its full display, then the cost of the model will most likely be raised to cover the cost of the added glass. However, demand is almost guaranteed to be extremely high, given the indestructible nature of sapphire glass.
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