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  • Corning Senior Vice President Criticizes Sapphire as an Alternative to Gorilla Glass


    Tony Tripeny, senior vice president of Corning Glass, launched a critique of sapphire crystals as materials for displays at a Q&A session recently at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference. The response given by Mr. Tripeny was a repetition of Corning’s disapproval of sapphire crystals from earlier months.

    James Fawcett asked Tripeny about sapphire versus glass now that “there is one large handset and device maker that people suspect maybe looking at Sapphire.” The large manufacturer he was referring to was obviously Apple, which is building a plant in Arizona to manufacture sapphire for “a secret project,” possibly the iWatch or the next-gen iPhone. Tripeny didn’t hold back in his criticism of the sapphire crystal material, he stated the following:

    When we look at it, we see a lot of disadvantages of Sapphire versus Gorilla Glass. It's about 10 times more expensive. It's about 1.6 times heavier. It's environmentally unfriendly. It takes about 100 times more energy to generate a Sapphire crystal than it does glass. It transmits less light which it means either dimmer devices or shorter battery life. It continues to break. I think while it's scratch resistant product it still breaks and our testing says that Gorilla Glass, about 2.5 times more pressure that it can take than Sapphire on. So when we look at it, we think from an overall industry and trend that is not attractive in consumer electronics.
    Fawcett continued by querying Tripeny on the material with the Corning executive hinting that Apple is looking at sapphire for its marketing appeal as the material seems to have “a very sexy name.” He also mentioned the extra cost and lower manufacturing yield of sapphire crystal when compared to Gorilla Glass. He said the following regarding the matter:

    The formation takes about 4,000 times longer than Gorilla Glass at a significantly higher melting temperature. Its hardness makes machining more difficult and costly. Then the cost per unit increases exponentially because when you have defects in boundaries in the crystal growth process, you essentially cut them out and so unlike glass where we have developed technologies so that we can have very large pristine pieces of glass, when you have that on crystals, what you end up doing is always having a yield issue. So it is really those items that make things more expensive.
    For those of you who didn’t know, Corning is now manufacturing Gorilla Glass 3 for use in smartphones and tablets. Originally announced at CES 2013, the material is three times more damage resistant than its predecessor Gorilla Glass 2. The company also announced a new shaped Gorilla Glass product for devices that require a curved display and a version of its Gorilla Glass with antimicrobial properties.

    Source: CNET, Seeking Alpha via MacRumors
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Corning Senior Vice President Criticizes Sapphire as an Alternative to Gorilla Glass started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 13 Comments
    1. Carvensno's Avatar
      Carvensno -
      Not criticism! Panic because there going to lose money. Lol
    1. PokemonDesigner's Avatar
      PokemonDesigner -
      Quote Originally Posted by Carvensno View Post
      Not criticism! Panic because there going to lose money. Lol
      You have to think though. He's not wrong in most of what he says. Sapphire is more scratch resistant yet it is much weaker than Gorilla Glass as we have seen demonstrated by the easiness it is to crack the camera lens on an iPhone. Then it is less environmentally safe but I bet no one here really cares about it as long as they have the next new iPhone. And it is extremely difficult to manufacture, unlike glass of any form as abnormalities are highly more likely in a crystal than it is from glass that you can get a technique to make them perfect almost every time.
    1. Feanor64's Avatar
      Feanor64 -
      Simple really sapphire for the Iwatch and gorilla glass for iPhone. Think about it.
    1. nmoreman's Avatar
      nmoreman -
      Yes, lost income to Corning, but if this glass is so horrible, why is it used in every high end watch, which takes much
      more abuse than my phone screen on a daily basis. All premium watches, Rolex, Breitling, and down use this material,
      not Gorilla Glass.
      So yes, Sapphire is a sexy name which protects my high end investments that I wear daily, the ones I can't upgrade
      every two years! If its good enough for those producers, I feel it will do a great job on my Iphone.
    1. Scotty Manley Silberhorn's Avatar
      Scotty Manley Silberhorn -
      Here's the thing, drops happen. Most of them could've been prevented like not setting your phone on the corner of your desk or putting the phone on your lap and forgetting it was there when you get up. This is responsibility. Now accidents do happen like when your on the phone and someone bumps into you but that stuff doesn't happen as often. So durability of a screen shouldn't matter as long as you're responsible with your device.

      Scratch proof is a different subject. It's the reason why people buy screen protectors. Safire will put screen protector companies like Zagg out of business if it catches on.
    1. PokemonDesigner's Avatar
      PokemonDesigner -
      Quote Originally Posted by nmoreman View Post
      Yes, lost income to Corning, but if this glass is so horrible, why is it used in every high end watch, which takes much
      more abuse than my phone screen on a daily basis. All premium watches, Rolex, Breitling, and down use this material,
      not Gorilla Glass.
      So yes, Sapphire is a sexy name which protects my high end investments that I wear daily, the ones I can't upgrade
      every two years! If its good enough for those producers, I feel it will do a great job on my Iphone.
      Here's the thing, a phone screen is more than twice the size of a watch face. Not to mention drops aren't what sapphire is good for. One drop could shatter the entire screen while with gorilla glass I can throw my iPhone 4S or 5S at a wall and still have 0 scratches. Sapphire glass would literally shatter on impact
    1. luvmytj's Avatar
      luvmytj -
      Im sure Corning is sweating the loss. If not for Gorilla glass they may have folded by now. I live about 2 hours from Corning glass and until GG came along they were really floundering lie most US businesses.
    1. noop's Avatar
      noop -
      Quote Originally Posted by nmoreman View Post
      Yes, lost income to Corning, but if this glass is so horrible, why is it used in every high end watch, which takes much
      more abuse than my phone screen on a daily basis. All premium watches, Rolex, Breitling, and down use this material,
      not Gorilla Glass.
      So yes, Sapphire is a sexy name which protects my high end investments that I wear daily, the ones I can't upgrade
      every two years! If its good enough for those producers, I feel it will do a great job on my Iphone.
      Yes, most watch companies use sapphire becuase of its durability for not being able to scratch easily. But sapphire actually chips, shatters, and breaks really easy. I've personally shattered the sapphire on a rolex by dropping it BY mistake. Who knows though, it might not even be used for a phone.
    1. Carvensno's Avatar
      Carvensno -
      As far as environmentally sound? where does sapphire come from? Earth. Lol just saying that's all! Just science companies have figured how to grow them as with other gems(diamonds)synthetically.

      Also google what sapphires glass windows are used for. Military, aerospace windows, armor, and etc... Again just saying. Lol
    1. fleurya's Avatar
      fleurya -
      It seems pretty obvious Apple would onlly be using sapphire for their upcoming watch. It makes perfect sense for a watch as a watch takes much more abuse and needs to be more scratch resistant, yet doesn't have the same risk of dropping like a phone since it's literally attached to your wrist.

      GG makes perfect sense on a phone screen for the exact opposite reasons.

      Who knows how accurate his claimed stats are. He'll clearly be biased of sapphire and that may creep into these stats, but even so, if it is more expensive to produce, weaker, yet more scratch resistant, then for a watch it's the clear chose even he shouldn't deny.
    1. Kotin6006's Avatar
      Kotin6006 -
      Most of his complaint about it are issues Apple has supposedly solved. As much as Apple loves marketing term I do not think they would spend that much dough to have a lesser product in the end.
    1. subreality's Avatar
      subreality -
      Quote Originally Posted by Scotty Manley Silberhorn View Post
      Here's the thing, drops happen. Most of them could've been prevented like not setting your phone on the corner of your desk or putting the phone on your lap and forgetting it was there when you get up. This is responsibility. Now accidents do happen like when your on the phone and someone bumps into you but that stuff doesn't happen as often. So durability of a screen shouldn't matter as long as you're responsible with your device.

      Scratch proof is a different subject. It's the reason why people buy screen protectors. Safire will put screen protector companies like Zagg out of business if it catches on.
      No they won't. Your phone screen is unlikely to scratch on most materials that average people come into contact with on a daily basis. Those companies feed off stupidity: no one will ever convince American idiots that their screen is unscratchable or unbreakable, because they don't want to believe it. It's a rite of passage, a ritual almost, to buy a screen protector and case with every phone.
    1. exNavy's Avatar
      exNavy -
      Hey thanks for the free publicity! Please criticize more of our products.