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charlesarthur : sapphire   5

Is Gorilla Glass 5 the end of the road for sapphire screens? • Tech.pinions
Tim Bajarin:
<p>At a special event in Palo Alto last week, Corning announced its newest version of Gorilla Glass 5, which is by far the thinnest as well as strongest glass screen they have ever made. When they were working on the specifications of Gorilla Glass 5, they studied one key issue that drove a critical part of its ultimate design. In the past, Gorilla Glass was created to withstand a drop from about the waist of most individuals. But in their research, they realized that, for a lot of people, they often lift it much higher when using it to take selfies or take photos. So, with that in mind, Gorilla Glass 5 is designed to withstand a drop of 1.6 meters (a little over five feet). They showed us a smartphone using Gorilla Glass 5 that had already been dropped around 20 times and dropped it again on a hard surface — it did not break. They showed other tests of Gorilla Glass 5 taking a direct hit from various objects and withstanding all without any breakage.

Gorilla Glass 5 is already shipping to vendors and will be in some smartphones by this fall. Corning’s commitment to creating even thinner glass with harder surfaces is significant. I believe Gorilla Glass 5 makes it unlikely a sapphire smartphone screen of any type will ever gain traction. This product from Corning pretty much makes a need for it less likely.</p>


Huawei made a <a href="http://www.whatmobile.net/news/huawei-ascend-p7-get-exclusive-sapphire-screen-china">sapphire-screened phone in 2014</a>, expecting the iPhone 6 would have one. It didn't. Sapphire is sooo over.
sapphire  smartphone 
july 2016 by charlesarthur
Apple and sapphire supplier reach new accord on $439m loan » WSJ
Peg Brickley:
<p>GT Advanced Technologies Inc. has reached an accord with Apple that will get it out from under $439m in debt it picked up in a failed effort to qualify as a supplier of smartphone-screen material.

The settlement provides for an auction by Nov. 23 of equipment that GT provided in the effort, the proceeds of which will be divided, GT said in papers filed on Monday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New Hampshire. While GT intends to hang on to some of the equipment—as many as 600 sapphire-making furnaces—it is prepared to auction what it can and abandon what it can’t cart off, court papers say.

Anything not sold will be handed over to Apple, which has agreed to scrap the equipment and extinguish the loan it made to transform GT from an equipment manufacturer into a supplier of smartphone-screen material.</p>


End to a long saga. I <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/nov/14/sapphire-gt-advanced--brutal-apple-supply-chain">wrote about it a year ago</a>.
sapphire  apple 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
Sapphire displays to see major step forward with lower reflectivity » Mac Rumors
While GT Advanced experienced difficulties with both the quality and quantity of sapphire, it is possible that Gorilla Glass was the better choice for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus after all. TIME reported in September that sapphire, in its current form, has several properties that are less ideal than glass, including being thicker and heavier, more expensive, unable to transmit as much light and less durable after exposure to normal wear and tear. Sapphire also has up to double the screen reflectance of glass, especially under bright light, which could make it difficult to read the screen.

The reflective issue in particular could soon be a thing of the past, however, as DisplayMate confirmed to MacRumors that it has lab tested new sapphire technology that it believes will be a major breakthrough for smartphone displays. The display calibration and evaluation company found the production-ready enhanced sapphire to be at an advantage over both regular sapphire and glass based on the results of its testing, and predicted that "rapidly falling production costs" could make the material go mainstream in the near future.


I doubt that the sapphire being made at GT Advanced was planned for 2014's iPhones. These problems would have been recognised, and the volumes would be too low to make screens for so many devices. Sapphire feels like a super-top-end product - as it is for Vertu. And that means low volume (comparatively).

Other phone makers are considering it, for sure.
apple  sapphire 
february 2015 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi may adopt sapphire for covers of 5.7in smartphone >> Digitimes
China-based smartphone vendor Xiaomi Technology is likely to adopt sapphire for protective covers of Xiaomi 5, its 5.7-inch flagship model that will be showcased at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, Taiwan-based supply chain makers cited industry sources in China as indicating.

Japan-based Kyocera in early 2014 launched smartphones with protective covers made from internally-produced sapphire in the US market through cooperation with Verizon Wireless, while China-based Vivo and Huawei Device also launched smartphones with sapphire covers, the sources said.

If Xiaomi decides to adopt sapphire, existing sapphire production capacity is not sufficient to meet the demand, according to sources with Taiwan-based sapphire wafer makers.


Even with Xiaomi's smartphone volumes, this probably isn't possible. Maybe a high-end model?
xiaomi  sapphire 
december 2014 by charlesarthur
Inside Apple’s broken sapphire factory >> WSJ
Great work by Daisuke Wakabayashi:
Manufacturing wasn’t the only problem. In August, one of the former workers said, GT discovered that 500 sapphire bricks were missing. A few hours later, workers learned that a manager had sent the bricks to recycling instead of shipping. Had they not been retrieved, the misfire would have cost GT hundreds of thousands of dollars.

By that point, it was apparent that sapphire wouldn’t be used for the screens on the new iPhones, which went on sale Sept. 19. Yet Apple still was eager to get as much sapphire as possible, the people familiar with its operations said. Apple’s letter said it only received 10% of the sapphire that GT originally promised.


Also notable:
Apple consumes one-fourth of the world’s supply of sapphire to cover the iPhone’s camera lens and fingerprint reader. Early last year, the company began looking for a much larger supply, to cover the iPhone’s screen.
apple  sapphire 
november 2014 by charlesarthur

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