Reports of Gorilla Glass’ demise on the iPhone in favour of Apple’s own sapphire glass material may be somewhat premature, at least if a Wall Street Journal story is on the money.
The report says that while sapphire glass will be used on some iPhone 6 models, it won’t become the default material for all of them. Sapphire glass is expensive to produce, you see – the report estimates it’d cost US$16 per phone to cover it in sapphire glass, while the current Gorilla Glass screens cost just US$3 per phone. Hence why it's only currently found covering the screens of oligarch's phones like the £6000-plus Vertu smartphone.
Gorilla Glass' time may not be up
Basically, Apple can’t justify the cost of producing the quantities of sapphire required for all iPhone 6 screens, but instead may be offering it on variants of both the 4.7in and 5.5in versions. Premium models, essentially.
Synthetic sapphire glass, which Apple produces at a plant in Arizona, is widely regarded as a superior material to Gorilla Glass due to its resistance to scratching and breaking. Apple already uses it in small quantities on iPhone models (the iPhone 5s’ Touch ID button and camera lens are covered by sapphire), and was widely predicted to be making it the standard screen material for the iPhone 6. But if the WSJ’s sources are correct, Gorilla Glass might have some iPhone life left in it yet.
We may well find out the truth on 9 September, when Apple seems likely to unveil the iPhone 6. In the meantime, get up to speed on all the iPhone 6 rumours and predictions in our iPhone 6 preview.