Apple may not use sapphire crystal for iPhone 6s lens

KGI analyst Kuo Ming-Chi says Apple won't use sapphire crystal for the lens and display of the upcoming iPhone 6s, though earlier media reports said Apple would use sapphire for the smartphone that's expected to be unveiled at the Sept. 9 media event.

He says the sapphire crystal is easily broken if it collides with hard surfaces. It purportedly failed durability testing, forcing the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus back to ion-strengthened glass.

Sapphire is the second hardest material in the world after diamond. The fact that it’s very hard to scratch means that it’s much less likely to break than competitors like Gorilla Glass or Dragontrail.

Some pundits expected Apple to use sapphire in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. It never happened for a variety of reasons and Apple’s sapphire manufacturing partner, GT Advanced, has declared bankruptcy.

However, Apple apparently hasn't given up on the material. A July patent filing (number 20150209903) at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office shows that Apple hasn’t given up on using the material in its iPhone and iPad lines. The patent is for a “system and method for laser cutting sapphire using multiple gas media.”