Apple has unveiled plans to deliver an opulent upgrade from the Gorilla Glass it currently uses, to iPhone users in the form of a synthetic sapphire screen coating. The move follows in line with the luxurious Vertu phone that already offers users a gem-coated sapphire screen, which is deemed one of the world’s hardest materials.
The tech giant has reportedly signed a $578 million deal with a massive plant in Mesa, Arizona to grow a synthetic version of the precious sapphire gemstone, according to siliconvalley.com. Once the facility reaches full capacity, experts say it will produce more sapphire than all of the producers of the material in the world combined.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday published Apple’s patent for the synthetic sapphire screen. An in-depth analysis provided by Apple Insider can be read by clicking here.
Apple’s decision to encrust its iPhones with sapphire screens is in great part due to the material’s appealing natural properties. In addition to it being denser than glass, which means it could be used in thinner sheets, sapphire is also harder than glass, but also more sensitive to touch, which “opens a lot of doors for Apple,” according to PTT research analyst Matt Margolis.
With consideration to the fact that 11% of iPhone users are reportedly using a device with a cracked screen, the synthetic sapphire covering could prove more durable that the less durable Gorilla Glass currently being used.
Apple is setting its sights on entering into several different industries through mobile technology–including medicine, with apps that can literally make conducting a physical through your iPhone a possibility. An emergency-activated CPR app called PulsePoint, which is available in Apple’s iTunes store, has already helped save the life of one Washington State infant that was minutes away from death.
A new version of the iPhone is expected to be revealed next week, and might even include the new synthetic sapphire screen, silicon valley.com reports.