Remember the days your iPhone would scratch so easily that you had to be extra careful with where you would place your phone? Well with the iPhone 5, Apple used anodized aluminum with inlays along the tops and bottoms made by pigmented glass (on black models) and ceramic glass (on white models) to replace the glass casing on the back. Sapphire crystals were also used to cover the back camera and according to Apple, are “far less likely to scratch” because the hardness comes second right after diamonds.
A new report by MIT Technology Review discusses the possibility of future smartphones having displays made completely of Sapphire to increase the longevity of phones. They also estimated that Sapphire crystals are about three times stronger than Gorilla Glass. The only problem is, the cost of Sapphire is far more expensive than Gorilla Glass:
Sapphire, a crystalline form of aluminum oxide, probably won’t ever be as cheap as Gorilla Glass, the durable material from Corning that’s used to make screens on iPhones and other smartphones. A Gorilla Glass display costs less than $3, while a sapphire display would cost about $30. But that could fall below $20 in a couple of years thanks to increased competition and improving technology, says Eric Virey, an analyst for the market research firm Yole Développement. And since sapphire performs better than glass, that price could make it cheap enough to compete, he says.
One thing we do know is that we'll find out by being patient.
Source: MIT Technology Review