Video: ultimate torture test reveals what it takes to shatter iPhone 6′s sapphire cover glass

By , Jul 11, 2014

iPhone 6 sapphire cover glas shattered

Earlier in the week, a scratch test captured on video had us marveling at the virtually indestructible sapphire-strengthened cover glass purportedly making its way to Apple’s forthcoming new iPhones.

The test, posted by YouTuber Marques Brownlee, showed scratching the protective cover with a set of keys and even a large folding knife yielded absolutely no damage. As Brownlee noted, the part’s scratch resistance and proneness to bending and twisting is beyond any smartphone cover glass you’ve ever seen.

Despite trying, Brownlee just couldn’t break the part under his own power. But anything in this world can be broken to pieces. We’re a curious bunch here at iDownloadBlog and have been wondering a lot what it’d take to push this alleged sapphire cover glass beyond the point of breaking.

I’ve just stumbled upon a torture test video which answers that question quite effectively. It’s included after the break so give it a quick watch and meet us in comments…

NowhereElse.fr [Google translate] editor Steve Hemmerstoffer republished the video below originally published by Apple Daily.

Even a hammer and nail wouldn’t produce a dent in this thing! But what would then? I don’t want to spoil the surprise so best thing you watch it yourself now.

Sapphire’s hardness is second to only diamonds, making it the best material to protect sensitive components like iPhone camera lenses and the sophisticated Touch ID sensor embedded inside the Home button.

On the downside, sapphire production is said to be slow, pricey and requiring a lot of energy, making volume production for mobile devices economically unfeasible.

For example, a sapphire pane can cost as much as ten times the price of Corning’s Gorilla Glass. For the sake of completeness, Corning ran its own stress tests to prove its glass can withstand 2.5 times more pressure than sapphire.

iPhone 5s (Touch ID closeup 002)

Out of fear of losing business, Corning execs have been rather vocal in their opposition to sapphire, arguing that the Gorilla Glass is way cheaper and more environmentally friendly to produce.

This obviously doesn’t concern Apple as it pre-paid north of $500 million to its partner GT Advanced, which operates a sophisticated sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona on Apple’s behalf.

The move led pundits to speculate that the factory could produce as much as 200 million iPhone glass covers per year to replace Corning’s Gorilla Glass, based purely on analysts’ wet dreams.

But for all we know, the Mesa facility could be nothing more than Tim Cook’s play to lock multi-year supply of sapphire for Touch ID sensors and camera lenses.

iPhone 5s (iSight camera closeup 002)

Interestingly enough, Professor Neil Alford, who leads Imperial College London’s Department of Materials, told The Guardian newspaper that Apple a year ago sought his help regarding the feasibility of using sapphire to build device displays.

“I remember the Apple folk coming to speak to me about 18 months ago to discuss sapphire screens,” Alford said. “They’ve obviously been busy since then, working with a sapphire manufacturer.”

An Apple patent gives away the firm has been researching new manufacturing techniques to protect the iPhone’s screen by building laminates of sapphire mixed with glass or steel.

There would be – according to Apple’s patent abstract – two sapphire sheets, each 0.55mm thin. One would protect against screen scratches and the other against screen breakage.

Meanwhile, other smartphone makers are passing on sapphire due to the material’s low supply, cost and production impracticalities. As Engadget reports, having researched sapphire in the past, LG has decided against deploying the precious gemstone due to the cost and supply not being “where we’d like them to be”.

On a final note, this is Apple we’re talking about. If anyone can substantially lower manufacturing costs, it’s them. Taking advantage of the economies of scale and its billions in banks allowing it to pay for sophisticated factories and tooling, only Apple can afford the risky sapphire gamble.

Remember, it wasn’t that long ago pundits were adamant that fingerprint sensors were unsuitable for mobile devices because they used to be unreliable and prone to wear and tear – until Apple came along with the Touch ID.

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  • Martin

    I love how the car completely smashed it

  • Christophe

    A car, lol didn’t see that coming

  • felixtaf

    Hope the Aluminium back cover is durable and less prone to scratches and chips in iPhone 6. It was worse in black/slate iPhone 5 and was better in iPhone 5S and hoping for BEST in iPhone 6!

    • http://www.twitter.com/IDGAFViBeLuXUrY Vanessa Bitez

      Yet mines never had scratches or chips. Be more careful with your iPhone. I recommend a case for you .

      • felixtaf

        Well, I never said that my phone is chipped or scratched. So, stop assuming.
        If you dono, do some research on iPhone 5′s durability issues on internet.
        I dont need a case. My iPhone 5 is 1.5 years old with little to no scratches!

      • Ken

        jeez chill out she just recommended an opinion. don’t get your panties in a bunch. “do know”. I’ve had an iPhone 5 for 2 years and no scratches with the black color. i used microfiber cloth to carry it then bought spigen, still rocking that joint.

      • felixtaf

        What? So she can say her OPINION and I cant say my OPINION?
        Calm down!

      • Ken

        lol you’re making me luagh

      • romeodesigns

        Haha. You guys are funny.
        He took her opinion and turned it into an argument.

      • @dongiuj

        My iPhone 5 will be two years old in October and mine too has zero marks on it. I think some people don’t know how to take care of something or are just pure clumsy.

      • rasiquiz

        What can i say… iPhone 4 FTW :P

      • James

        then why leave any comment at all?

      • Matt

        The black iphone 5 was god awful especially the edges

  • Jeffrey Feuerstein

    Damn it I shouldn’t have read the comments before watching the video!!!

  • Jeffrey Feuerstein

    I’d love to see someone actually torture it by smashing a hammer to it much harder, instead of gently touching it in this video.

    • Rowan09

      They seem like they are actually trying to break it. If you try doing those things with the current iPhones it would smash the screen. They’re using a hammer and nail which doesn’t take much force to do some type of damage.

      • Jeffrey Feuerstein

        That’s true the hammer and the nail would break the iPhone 5s’s screen, they were not beating it hard enough with the hammer only though…

  • Noah Mospan

    Looks like shattered iphone screens are a thing of the past. Unless you are into driving over your iphone with a car.

  • mlee19841

    lol. this happens everyday…hahahaha

  • mlee19841

    lol at the lighter test…

  • J. Rockwell

    Impressive to say the least.

  • sosarozay300

    samsung fanboys are gonna be mad when they realize GT has a exclusive contract with apple on the sapphire screens

  • Bugs Bunnay

    May the glass back return.

  • Bugs Bunnay

    too bad the battery didn’t explode. saw one with the galaxy s5 and it plumped up and blew! battery acid spewing all over the place

    • Azat Dav

      saw that one as well:) guess the guy breathed in some of the acid)

  • Negative_Return

    That screen would not have shattered had it been on an iPhone
    The body would have cushioned the impact
    Add to that a good case and your phone is nearly bullet proof

  • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

    Amazing! Broken screens are almost history in the walled garden. Let’s see how Samsung will copy and build on this one…I presume it’ll be by building a super sapphire amoled plant of their own or buying out GT Advanced.

  • rasiquiz

    I hate when this happens… xD
    and what’s up with the hdd? wtf?

    • Azat Dav

      i guess he’s taken it a bit too much with the hdd but what he meant is that film even protects other devices :D of course he’s being sarcastic)))