According to an article in the Guardian and a recent technology report, Apple has recently invested in the infrastructure to develop sapphire crystal touch screens for smartphones.
For those who haven’t heard of this technology, lab grown sapphire crystal has been used for a while as a replacement material for glass on watch faces to give high end chronometers and luxury watches a nearly indestructible face. Given sapphire’s rare position on the Moh’s hardness scale (only diamond is harder), its strength puts even Gorilla Glass to shame.
And for the truly eagle-eyed sci-fi geeks out there, you’ll notice this is yet another Star Trek technological prediction come to life– Scotty called it “Transparent Aluminium” in Star Trek IV, and artificial sapphire is grown in a lab by exposing aluminium oxide to high pressure and heat.
See for yourself. It’s a pretty exciting use of this material, and would make for an entirely new generation of rugged computer hardware.
Find out more about sapphire crystal screens in the Guardian article.