Corning Slams Sapphire Crystal as 'Not Attractive' in Consumer Electronics

Corning Slams Sapphire Crystal as 'Not Attractive' in Consumer Electronics

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Corning slammed sapphire crystal as an alternative to its Gorilla Glass at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, reports CNET.

Tony Tripeny, SVP at Corning, was asked about sapphire versus glass by analyst James Fawcett.

"So we mentioned Sapphire and obviously there is one large handset and device maker that people suspect maybe looking at Sapphire. And at least from a Corning perspective, [what are] the puts and takes of Sapphire versus glass?"

To which Tripeny responded:

When we look at it, we see a lot of disadvantages of Sapphire versus Gorilla Glass. It's about 10 times more expensive. It's about 1.6 times heavier. It's environmentally unfriendly. It takes about 100 times more energy to generate a Sapphire crystal than it does glass. It transmits less light which...means either dimmer devices or shorter battery life. It continues to break. I think while it's a scratch resistant product it still breaks and our testing says that Gorilla Glass [can take] about 2.5 times more pressure that it can take...Sapphire on. So when we look at it, we think from an overall industry and trend that is not attractive in consumer electronics.

Fawcett also asked Tripeny if the price of sapphire glass would decrease as production levels increased. Tripeny said it's the yield issue that makes it more expensive.

I think it's really a combination of three things. The formation takes about 4,000 times longer than Gorilla Glass at a significantly higher melting temperature. Its hardness makes machining more difficult and costly. Then the cost per unit increases exponentially because when you have defects in boundaries in the crystal growth process, you essentially cut them out. And so unlike glass, where we have developed technologies so that we can have [a] very large pristine pieces of glass, when you have that on crystals, what you end up doing is always having a yield issue. So it is really those items that make things more expensive.

Apple has reportedly partnered with GT Advanced for production of sapphire glass that will be used for the next generation iPhone display. Thus, it's expected that Corning would tout it's Gorilla Glass technology over sapphire.

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Corning Slams Sapphire Crystal as 'Not Attractive' in Consumer Electronics
Tommyy - March 5, 2014 at 11:09pm
Apple aims luxury highest grade product. Most exotic wrist watches have sapphire. They do not use gorilla glass. It is one of marketing reason.
{Anthony} - March 5, 2014 at 5:26pm
Oh- and the comment re: dimmer screens = less battery life..... Apple took care of that when they got married to Tesla in the Mega factory... #AppleNation
{Anthony} - March 5, 2014 at 5:19pm
Well obviously the boys down at Corning will be pretty pissed off that one of their biggest cash cows found a greener pasture.... And even more pissed off that the corner of the industry that they feasted on for years is now being sliced and diced... Sapphire is a clear winner in this battle once you have done some research. In response to Nat, that would be a great idea for Corning, not for the makers of the Sapphire glass. Reason being is that Sapphire will crush the competition in a 5 year frame, once the iphones and ipads start rolling out - We all know that Scamsung will jump on the band wagon... We can just let the snowball and the hill tell you the rest... Stock Market Anyone?
Nat - March 5, 2014 at 4:05pm
Why not team up with gorilla glass for stronger and scratch resistance glare free glass?
Jon - March 5, 2014 at 10:18pm
They could but why pay a middle man when you can do it yourself. We aren't even sure if Apple will use this for their idevices at east not yet. But like a commenter before me said why would the makers of gorilla glass admit that sapphire would be better then glass? I know that on paper sapphire is stronger but on paper everything sounds good. It's real world use that will determine if that holds true.
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