Prior to the iPhone 6 launch, sapphire was all the rage, with some suggesting it’d surpass Corning’s Gorilla Glass in terms of durability. While the sapphire iPhone 6 obviously didn’t happen, there’s still very much a future for the material in mobile.
Corning officially declares that with Project Phire, it’s merging the dropability of Gorilla Glass 4 (did I just make up a word? Dropability?) with the scratch resistance of sapphire.
Sapphire glass was rumoured for the iPhone 6 as far back as February 2014, though Corning stuck to its guns, repeatedly explaining that the material was perhaps more scratch resistant, yes, but also more prone to shattering.
The solution? Something that laughs off scratches and won’t shatter when dropped on the floor. Enter: Project Phire.
"We told you last year that sapphire was great for scratch performance but didn't fare well when dropped," yelled Corning exec James Clappin at some sort of gathering.
"So, we created a product that offers the same superior damage resistance and drop performance of Gorilla Glass 4 with scratch resistance that approaches sapphire."
And that’s about all Corning has to say for now, but it’s interesting to hear that the New Yorkers are embracing sapphire after repeatedly speaking out against it. Very few phones to date have sapphire displays, but some analysts still reckon it’s The Future, a notion Corning is clearly aware of.
As for Apple, you can still find sapphire on the iPhone 6’s camera lens, and on the Touch ID fingerprint scanner (which obviously wouldn’t function properly if scratched). Some models of the imminent Apple Watch (release date April 2015) will rock sapphire, too.