If Apple was planning on making people believe they were the first to use sapphire in smartphone displays for a more durable screen, Kyocera has made it a point to spoil those plans. The Japanese company has put out a video directly targeted at all the iPhone 6 rumors tipping the tech world off to Apple’s plans to use the displays.
They counter the rumors by saying that they have been doing this a lot longer than Apple has, with 41 years of experience using sapphire in everything from computer components to watch faces. And now they’re planning to beat Apple to the punch in smartphone displays.
They’re calling it the “Sapphire Shield,” and if you know anything about sapphire you’d know that it’s supposed to be virtually indestructible. Coins and keys wouldn’t be able to make scratches and dents, and it would come out looking like a champ if it were dropped flat on its face onto a slab of concrete. Sapphire is said to be used as transparent armor for many military vehicles, and if it’s good enough for a soldier it should be more than good enough for your smartphone.
The problem with sapphire is that it’s expensive — a lot more expensive than tempered glass like Corning’s Gorilla Glass being used in so many smartphones. It was only last year that sapphire displays were going for $20 to $30 a pop, whereas Gorilla Glass can be had for under $3 per unit. Kyocera says they have found a way to make sapphire-based displays affordable, though, and that we’ll be hearing something very soon from their camp.
As much as we make fun of Kyocera’s phones for being underwhelming and uninspiring, one thing we can say they’ve always done well is durable smartphones. This is a natural step forward for them, and hopefully it can be used as a barometer for other OEMs to get in line and compete — we sure wouldn’t mind a future with fully indestructible displays.