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.