Expert Believes Alleged iPhone 6 Sapphire Front Panel Could Be 'Legitimate'

Earlier this week, numerous videos of the alleged front panel of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 surfaced, which showed the screen being put through stress tests involving significant bending and scratching. While those videos referred to the front panel as being made of sapphire crystal, there was no way to confirm that the display were made of the durable material.

Now, professor Neil Alford, who is a member of the Department of Materials at the Imperial College in London, tells The Guardian that the alleged "sapphire panel" could "well be legitimate." Alford believes that the stress tests performed on the screen indicate that the panel is made of sapphire, adding that Apple likely overcame a number of challenges in making the part thin and durable.

Alford concurs: "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."

He added: “I think they will be doing some sort of a lamination – binding different crystal cuts of sapphire together – boosting the toughness of the material, while they may also have induced some sort of a strain in the surface of the glass – either compression or tension – which means that it has extra strength,” he said.

Alford noted that Apple had contacted him in January 2013 to discuss sapphire screens, indicating that Apple has likely been hard at work on creating the screen afterward. Past rumors have suggested that Apple will be using a sapphire display in the iPhone 6, but other reports have claimed that the more durable material could be exclusive to the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 due to supply constraints.

Apple's 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is expected to launch this September, while the larger 5.5-inch version has been rumored to be released at the same time. In addition to a larger display, both devices are likely to include a thinner housing, a faster A8 processor, and an improved camera.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
82 months ago
A fine example of real innovation. This used to be a very expensive material used only in premium products or in very small components. By single handedly building production capacity for sapphire, Apple has enabled this premium raw material to become a cost effective and most likely superior alternative to Gorilla Glass.

Well done.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
82 months ago
If that actually is a sapphire panel in the video, the flexibility hints that Apple has figured out how to resolve the brittle nature of sapphire, which is what has previously made it unsuitable for large smartphone screens. The reason sapphire works in bulletproof glass is it is in a laminate which can take the impact but sapphire by itself generally cannot without shattering.

Very interesting, and if Apple did indeed solve this huge problem, kudos to them - this really is innovation even though Samsung played around with prototypes and rejected them a few years ago.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
82 months ago
Must... use... Gorilla... Glass

That display can't be made of sapphire. Corning's CEO said that such a thing wasn't feasible and even if it was, Apple wouldn't be able to do it. Corning's CEO said the only useful display material was Gorilla Glass and any company that used any other display material would be in for a bag of hurt. So, there. :D

/s
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
82 months ago
A 5.5" phone is TACKY. I'm going to be disgusted if sapphire screens aren't on the 4.7".
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
82 months ago
Oh yes! I cannot wait anymore.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
82 months ago
Curious to know how this fairs in a drop test?
Score: 5 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...

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...

Photographer Austin Mann Tests the iPhone 12 Pro's Camera

Wednesday October 21, 2020 4:14 am PDT by
Travel photographer Austin Mann usually performs an in-depth review of new iPhone models to test their camera performance in real-world scenarios. To test Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro, Mann traveled to Glacier National Park, Montana. Mann focused on some of the biggest camera upgrades with the iPhone 12 Pro, including the upgraded Wide lens, Ultra Wide Night mode, and LiDAR autofocus, across a...

iPhone 12 Pro Max Has Smaller 3,687 mAh Battery According to Regulatory Filing

Tuesday October 20, 2020 8:48 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro Max is equipped with a 3,687 mAh battery, which is around 7% less capacity than the 3,969 mAh battery in the iPhone 11 Pro Max, according to a regulatory filing published by TENAA, the Chinese equivalent of the FCC. The regulatory filing, spotted by MacRumors, also lists the iPhone 12 Pro Max with 6GB of RAM as seen in benchmark results last week. Apple has filed ...

5G Drains iPhone 12 Battery 20% Faster Than 4G in Benchmark

Wednesday October 21, 2020 3:17 am PDT by
After the first reviews for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro emerged yesterday, a new report by Tom's Guide reveals the extent of battery life reductions when using 5G. The report outlines a test wherein the iPhone surfs the web continuously at 150 nits of screen brightness, launching a new site every 30 seconds until the battery drains. Interestingly, the test was run on an iPhone 12 and...

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 ...

French iPhone Boxes Come Packed in an Outer Box With Separate EarPods

Wednesday October 21, 2020 6:52 am PDT by
After the news that France would be the only territory to continue to include EarPods with the iPhone, it seems that Apple is not packing the earbuds within the iPhone's box (via iGeneration). Screenshot from TheiCollection's review video The French iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro does not have a different retail box to accommodate EarPods, meaning that all iPhone boxes are consistent...

Some Defective Apple iPhone 12 Cases Shipping Without Speaker Holes

Wednesday October 21, 2020 12:54 pm PDT by
At least two customers who have purchased iPhone 12 cases have received defective cases that do not have speaker holes, which obscures the sound. Photo by Reddit user zarnold16 There have been two separate threads on Reddit from iPhone 12 customers who purchased a case and received one without speaker holes. One customer was told by an Apple advisor that the case wasn't meant to have...

Watch: New iPad Air Unboxing Videos and First Impressions

Wednesday October 21, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Apple's embargo has lifted on reviews for the new iPad Air ahead of its launch on Friday. In addition to our more detailed review roundup, we've shared a handful of unboxing videos and first impressions of the device below. The new iPad Air via Karl Conrad The new iPad Air features a larger 10.9-inch edge-to-edge display, a faster A14 Bionic chip, and a USB-C port instead of Lightning. It is...

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...