Apple Files Patent Application to Use Sapphire Glass in iPhone 6 Display

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | March 28, 2014 11:01 AM EST

Apple filed for a patent which was published on Thursday, March 27. The patent application suggested that the company might be experimenting with sapphire to be used in its touchable displays. [See Figures HERE]

Apple Insider reported that Apple's patent application is about an "Oleophobic coating on sapphire." The patent application indicates that the company is looking forward to including the hard material in the development of the iPhone 6. There are illustrations given on the cover page of the application. Sapphire displays are repeatedly mentioned in tablet, phones as well as other portable devices.

The application specifically describes the oil-repelling or oleophobic method of coating which will possibly be applied to a sapphire slab in the mobile before the installation. Apple used oleophobic coatings first in the iPhone 3GS. The technology was apparently used to protect against the accumulation of oil and detritus which are inevitable parts of any touchscreen display.

Every iPad and iPhone model since then has used the repellent coating. However, Gorilla Glass is not directly associated with sapphire as Apple indicated that general bonding techniques could not work with such material. The crystal structure of sapphire glass or sapphire is an obstacle to achieving successful results.

Apple's patent document also shows that specific oleophobic treatments as well as coatings do not work well when they are applied to sapphire glass directly. The document showed that certain treatments and coatings last for a "lower number of abrasive cycles when applied to sapphire glass and other alumina-based base layers (e.g., less than 300 cycles), as compared to silica glass where the coatings may not exhibit wear until a higher number of abrasive cycles (e.g., 300 cycles or more)."

Meanwhile, Mac Rumors quoted Tim Cook confirming that Apple manufactured sapphires in the Arizona plant of the company even though he did not disclose how Apple would use the material in its technology. Mr Cook talked to David Muir from ABC News. The patent filing shows a sapphire later at the base of the multi-layer display.

Read the original patent document HERE.

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