Sapphire screens may be coming to iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches— and perhaps even Mac laptops. Apple has filed for a patent (number 20180284843) for a “sapphire cover for electronic devices.”
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.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that electronic devices such as smart phones, tablet computers and electronic devices conventionally sport screens or displays made from reinforced or modified glass. However, these glass screens may still be susceptible to damage.
Specifically, Apple says these conventional screens may scratch, chip or crack when an undesirable impact event or force (e.g., drop, crushed) occurs with the electronic device. Damage to the screens of the electronic device may render the device partially or completely inoperable and/or may prevent the user from utilizing the electronic device for its intended purposes. Apple wants to change this.
Here’s the company’s summary of the invention: “A cover for an electronic device and methods of forming a cover is disclosed. The electronic device may include a housing, and a cover coupled to the housing. The cover may have an inner surface having at least one of an intermediate polish and a final polish, a groove formed on the inner surface, and an outer surface positioned opposite the inner surface. The outer surface may have at least one of the intermediate polish and the final polish.
“The cover may also have a rounded perimeter portion formed between the inner surface and the outer surface. The rounded perimeter portion may be positioned adjacent the groove. The method for forming the cover may include performing a first polishing process on the sapphire component using a polishing tool, and performing a second polishing process on the groove of the sapphire component forming the cover using blasting media.”
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.