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Sapphire Glass vs. Gorilla Glass: a Comparison

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For a long time before the much awaited release of the IPhone 6, there was a hot debate about what kind of glass would make up the screen. Typically, Gorilla Glass is the way most cell phone manufacturers go, in terms of screens. However, as of the summer prior to the release of the 6, reports were flying about Apple spending a great deal of money with Sapphire, and it was thought they were purchasing glass for their screens. When the IPhone 6 dropped, the Sapphire screen was notably missing.

There are critics and supporters of both types of glass, but there was a definite question mark as to why Apple didn’t use Sapphire for the 6. In the end, Apple cited cost as their reasoning behind manufacturing the IPhone 6 without the Sapphire glass, and using the traditional Gorilla Glass instead. Most people, even the most tech-savvy, are still questioning what the big differences would have been if Apple had gone with the suspected plan.

The first major difference is in screen thickness and weight. As cell phones have gotten bigger, they’ve also managed to get lighter. One of the main reasons for the weight loss in phones is that Gorilla Glass manufacturer, Corning, can make a sheet of glass for phones that is literally paper thin. Sapphire glass would have made the already larger IPhone 6 much heavier as the Sapphire screen is nearly 30% heavier.

Secondly, Sapphire Glass would have had to have been cut individually for each and every phone produced, whereas Gorilla Glass is able to be cut to size uniformly and made stronger by chemical intervention. Having to cut each sheet individually would have added to the manufacturing cost of the IPhone 6, thus driving the price up for the consumer. Apple was hesitant to do this, as their phones are already coming in at a higher price point than their Android counterparts.

One ultimate advantage of Sapphire is that it is reported to be shatterproof where the traditionally used Gorilla Glass is not. One trip to the Apple Store will tell you exactly how invaluable a shatter-proof screen would be. Dropping an IPhone is a rather costly endeavor, and not all that convenient either. However, adding this unbreakable glass to the IPhone would have most likely packed an additional $100 onto the cost of the already expensive IPhone products.

The argument, however, about the breakability of the Sapphire screen is that it has never been road tested on a cellular phone.   While it is regularly used in other products, the Sapphire is, thus far, unused for larger scale items. As it is not, technically, glass but crystal, some concerns have been raised as to whether or not the texture may actually turn out to be on the brittle end. While it does lend toward better scratch resistance, there are doubts about its unbreakable nature.

As we’ve entered into a world that is almost entirely controlled by our cell phones, the little red battery in the upper right corner of an IPhone is a signal of pending disaster. The life of the battery has become increasingly important to cell phone users across the board whether android or IPhone. Due to the thickness of the Sapphire screen, it would require a different brightness setting to get the same resolution as on a Gorilla Glass screen, thus draining the battery faster.

Another very important concern of many people, not just cell phone consumers, is the environmental impact that is caused by manufacturing of any product. In order to produce the IPhone 6 with Sapphire, it would have cost a multitude more energy that the traditional Gorilla Glass. Coupled with, once again, increased production costs the amount of energy expended to make the Sapphire IPhone 6 would have driven the price sky high.

Sapphire may have been the golden child going into the argument, but it would appear that Gorilla Glass has emerged as the front runner, as it enabled Apple to keep costs in a more reasonable range. In the end, when any company produces a new version of a critical darling, like the IPhone, they want for it to be well-received. Apple producing an IPhone with a screen that hadn’t been properly configured and tested for durability could have been a disastrous decision. As production of future generations takes place, could Sapphire STILL be the future of IPhone?

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