Corning Again Criticizes Sapphire as Potential Alternative to Gorilla Glass

Corning Glass senior vice president Tony Tripeny spoke critically of sapphire as a material for displays during a question and answer session at the recent Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference (Via Seeking Alpha and CNET). His responses reiterate the company's earlier opposition to sapphire crystal.

gorillaglass2-1325800748

Corning Gorilla Glass 2

Morgan Stanley's James Fawcett asked Tripeny about sapphire versus glass now that "there is one large handset and device maker that people suspect maybe looking at Sapphire." This one large manufacturer is obviously Apple, which is building a plant in Arizona to manufacture sapphire for "a secret project," possibly the iWatch or the next generation iPhone. Tripeny didn't hold back in his criticism of the sapphire crystal material.

When we look at it, we see a lot of disadvantages of Sapphire versus Gorilla Glass. It's about 10 times more expensive. It's about 1.6 times heavier. It's environmentally unfriendly. It takes about 100 times more energy to generate a Sapphire crystal than it does glass. It transmits less light which it means either dimmer devices or shorter battery life. It continues to break. I think while it's scratch resistant product it still breaks and our testing says that Gorilla Glass, about 2.5 times more pressure that it can take than Sapphire on. So when we look at it, we think from an overall industry and trend that is not attractive in consumer electronics.

Fawcett continued to query Tripeny on the material with the Corning executive hinting that Apple is looking at sapphire for its marketing appeal as the material "has got a very sexy name." Tripeny also mentions the extra cost and lower manufacturing yield of sapphire crystal when compared to Gorilla Glass.

The formation takes about 4,000 times longer than Gorilla Glass at a significantly higher melting temperature. Its hardness makes machining more difficult and costly. Then the cost per unit increases exponentially because when you have defects in boundaries in the crystal growth process, you essentially cut them out and so unlike glass where we have developed technologies so that we can have very large pristine pieces of glass, when you have that on crystals, what you end up doing is always having a yield issue. So it is really those items that make things more expensive.

Corning now is manufacturing Gorilla Glass 3 for use in smartphones and tablets. Announced at CES 2013, the material is three times more damage resistant than its predecessor Gorilla Glass 2. The company earlier this year also announced a new shaped Gorilla Glass product for devices that require a curved display and a version of its Gorilla Glass with antimicrobial properties.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
87 months ago
Of course they have to complain, they are losing money.
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
87 months ago
A company bashing a competing product? No way
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
87 months ago
Qualcomm criticizes 64bit processor?
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
87 months ago
Sour grapes...

How many sour grapes can Gorilla Glass hold? Sounds like this is a company that is scared. If they weren't, they would simply taut the advantages of Gorilla Glass. But if they are attacking sapphire based on an older understanding of the material (keep in mind that Apple and GT have invented a new process that is unknown and top secret right now) then they are scared of what could be. Apple would not release a product that exhibits all the disadvantages that they are saying, so obviously there's some anxiety of what is coming.

That being said, Corning should be grateful to Apple and Steve Jobs for knocking on their door and resurrecting Gorilla Glass and putting them into a whole new industry.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
87 months ago

It transmits less light which it means either dimmer devices or shorter battery life.

uh, what?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapphire#Transparency_and_hardness


I guess transparency might be an issue if Apple decides to use 5-foot-thick glass on their devices.

Shattering isn't the problem-- maybe Corning can let us know when they make a version of Gorilla Glass that scores a 9 on the Mohs scale.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
87 months ago
Ya know, in my years of using mobile devices, seeing them in the field, and so on, SCRATCHES are not even close to being a common problem.

CRACKING is. We need glass that is resistant to shock and won't spiderweb when dropped. Current smart phone and tablet screens are already fairly resistant to scratches; I don't use a screen protector on my iPhone and I certainly don't baby it yet there are no easily visible scratches.

I think Apple is going in the wrong direction with sapphire glass. It's okay for the camera; that's a tiny piece and the camera does get abuse because it's on the back of the phone, but not for the screen!
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

First Impressions From New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Owners

Thursday October 22, 2020 4:20 pm PDT by
It's already Friday, October 23, in Australia and New Zealand, which means some customers who purchased an iPhone 12 or 12 Pro already have their new devices in hand. We've seen dozens of reviews of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro from media sites, but now first impressions from regular Apple customers are available. Image via MacRumors reader Boardiesboi New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro owners are...

Early iPhone 12 Tests Show Ceramic Shield is Stronger and More Scratch Resistant Than iPhone 11 Glass

Friday October 23, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 models are protected by a Ceramic Shield cover glass that has nano-ceramic crystals infused right into the glass to improve durability. According to Apple, Ceramic Shield offers four times better drop protection than the glass used for the iPhone 11 models. YouTube channel MobileReviewsEh conducted some tests on the iPhone 12 using a force meter to compare its performance ...

Apple Distributing New Heated Display Removal Machine for iPhone 12 Repairs

Thursday October 22, 2020 6:20 pm PDT by
Apple is providing Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers with a new heated display removal fixture for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro repairs, according to information obtained by MacRumors from a reliable source. To open iPhone 12 models, technicians will be required to slide the device into a specialized tray, and then place the tray into the high-temperature fixture for two...

Apple VP Kaiann Drance Interview Addresses Battery Life, MagSafe, and Power Adapter Concerns

Friday October 23, 2020 3:37 am PDT by
Apple's Vice President of iPhone Marketing, Kaiann Drance, has provided a new interview to Rich DeMuro on the Rich on Tech Podcast, to discuss the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Although much of the interview repeated points from Apple's "Hi, Speed" event, there were a number of interesting tidbits regarding the affect of 5G on battery life, MagSafe concerns, and the lack of a power adapter in...

Teardown Video Confirms iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Use Same 2,815mAh Battery

Thursday October 22, 2020 9:47 am PDT by
With the iPhone 12 launching on Friday and in just a few hours to Australia and New Zealand, hands-on videos, teardowns, reviews, and other iPhone-related content has been coming out. A new teardown video delves into both the iPhone 12 and the 12 Pro, confirming battery life for both models and giving us a closer look at their internals. The video from Io Technology is in Chinese, but ...

Images of Supposed AirPods Diagnosis Tool Shared Online

Thursday October 22, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
Apple is reportedly rolling out a new tool to Apple service providers for testing AirPods, according to leaker known as "Fudge," who shared images of the tool on Twitter. Apple appears to be seeking to reduce unnecessary AirPods services by more accurately diagnosing the cause of a fault. Instances of a dirt-blockage, which may be difficult to ascertain visually, can apparently be...

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...

Apple's AirTags Revealed in Newly Published Patent Applications

Thursday October 22, 2020 9:13 am PDT by
Two patent applications filed by Apple appear to depict the company's widely expected AirTags item trackers (via Patently Apple). The filings, which include a large number of images, are titled "Mounting Base for a Wirelessly Locatable Tag" and "Fastener with a Constrained Retention Ring," and describe a wirelessly locatable tag that can be used to determine the absolute location of an...

iPhone 11 Pro Outlasts iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Extensive Battery Life Test

Friday October 23, 2020 8:36 am PDT by
Arun Maini today shared a new side-by-side iPhone battery life video test on his YouTube channel Mrwhosetheboss, timing how long the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models last on a single charge compared to older models, with equal brightness, settings, battery health, and usage. All of the devices are running iOS 14 without a SIM card inserted. In the test, the iPhone 11 Pro outlasted both ...

Apple Warns MagSafe Charger Can Leave Circular Imprints on Leather Cases

Friday October 23, 2020 3:23 pm PDT by
If you keep your iPhone in a leather case while charging with Apple's new MagSafe Charger, the case might show circular imprints from contact with the accessory, according to a new Apple support document published today. Apple's leather cases for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are not available until November 6, but a MacRumors reader has already shared a photo of a circular imprint on...