Ubreakable iPhone 7 Glass? Didn’t happen with the iPhone 6.
Remember the buzz while the iPhone 6 was in development about Sapphire Glass – the unbreakable screen that was going to save millions of devices from tile, wood, and long drops propelled by gravity?
Now we are all wondering about the iPhone 7 and asking ourselves, “Is the iPhone 7 going to have unbreakable glass?” In this article we will reflect back on what happened during the iPhone 6 sapphire screen development, what happened there, and we will speculate about the new lens on the iPhone 7 or iPhone 6S (whatever Apple will choose to name their new flagship device).
In 2014 we saw several articles including one on CNET (http://www.cnet.com/news/why-the-iphone-6-isnt-rocking-a-sapphire-crystal-display/) about a 578 million dollar deal that would utilize GT Advanced Technologies newly developed method to create enough sapphire screens to handle market demand for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus production. In the past, Apple had only used sapphire crystal for small components such as the iPhone camera lens but this would require a massive production increase to meet the demand. Apple led us to believe in one way or another through leaks and indirect submissions to major influencers that the strongest, nearly unbreakable screen was in their sights. It turns out that this was a far shot from reality but who can afford a 578 million dollar miss? Well, Apple with more cash on hand than the US Government, can surely afford it.
So we ask ourselves, “Is the iPhone 7 going to have an unbreakable screen?”
What we do know is this: The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models were not able to go the direction of Sapphire as production from GT Advanced Technologies kept displaying failure modes that were not exactly scalable for Apple’s needs for millions of units. The way that the Sapphire is synthetically and before cutting into smaller screens, is in boules. Apple fronted the money (578 million dollars) for GT Advanced Technologies new furnaces and facility to create these boules that would be utilized for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus production. But just before the deal with GT Advanced, the first of the sapphire boules were revealed, and they had cracks so deep that they were rendered useless according to higher ups at Apple. Still confident in GT Advanced Technologies’ track record, Apple thought that this company would be able to make larger scale furnaces and increase quality.
Sapphire in this quantity took an average of 30 days and $20,000 to create one boule which is a huge increase in cost per screen for Apple.
To make a long story shorter, GT Advanced Technologies had made several mistakes and was only able to deliver 10% of the sapphire that Apple and GT had agreed upon. From furnace design failure, product failure, and poor money management, GT was not able to deliver their end of the deal. Apple did change quality requirements and made adjustments to what was needed of the final product but the bottom line was that GT was not able to produce what was contracted.
So now what? Will the iPhone 6S / 7 have the desired, unbreakable sapphire screen? We doubt it. For now, get a good case and try to keep from breaking your iPhone 6S or iPhone 7 screen. It’s looking like Corning is still married to Apple and will be for the forseeable future.
If you do happen to break your iPhone 6, 6 Plus, iPhone 7 or iPh0ne 6S XpressFix iPhone repair will get you back up and running in no time!