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Why a sapphire iPhone 6 display could be Apple’s greatest engineering feat

September 9th, 2014 at 12:01 PM
iPhone 6 Sapphire Glass Display

If Apple really does take the wraps off an iPhone 6 with a sapphire glass display, it will be an even more impressive engineering feat than you think. MIT’s Technology Review has talked with a couple of engineering experts who say that sapphire is a particularly tricky material to work with and that Apple has very little room for error if it wants to use it to mass produce large smartphone displays.

We already know that sapphire is much more expensive to use right now than the Corning Gorilla Glass that Apple has traditionally used for iPhone displays but it also has to be in virtually flawless condition before being used or else it becomes quite brittle, Technology Review says.

“Any flaws or scratches dramatically reduce the strength,” Neil Alford, a material engineering professor at Imperial College of London, explains to Technology Review.

Robert Ritchie, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, similarly tells Technology Review that any defects in a pane of sapphire glass make it much more prone to scratches, which in turn make it much more prone to serious cracks. Ritchie also says that you need to design a smartphone just right so that the sapphire display doesn’t take the brunt of the impact during drop tests.

All told, it looks like Apple has set up quite a challenge for itself. Be sure to read Technology Review’s full analysis by clicking the source link below.

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