I think the sapphire display is going to put the iPhone back on the mapAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
It’s nearing the end of July, which means that we’re officially in the second half of 2014. That also means that we’re now gearing up to see what the latter half of the year brings in terms of new flagships set to release in the fall, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the Sony Xperia Z3, the Moto X+1, perhaps the first “Android Silver” device, and of course the Apple iPhone 6. While I’m excited to see what all of these have to bring, for some reason I find myself most invested in the next iPhone.
I haven’t been too pleased with iOS since the drastic visual changes made between iOS 6 and 7, but as we start to see more rumors and leaks emerge about the iPhone 6 I’m starting not to care as much about how hideous I find iOS 7 to be; instead, I find myself extremely intrigued at the fact that this next iPhone is not only supposed to really step it up in terms of size, but also in terms of screen quality.
Screen quality might not be #1 on everyone’s “must have” feature list, but it might be soon. Although we’re all pretty familiar with how strong Corning Gorilla Glass (the glass used for most smartphones screens today) is at this point, we’ve also grown accustomed to knowing that as strong as it might be, it’s a far cry from being perfect. There’s still that whole “luck of the draw” thing that comes with any accidental drop, flop, or collision that happens to our screens - you might get away with it or you might not, so we take extra precautions to ensure that more often than not we don’t have to take that risk.
However, that all is set to change if the rumors and leaks regarding the iPhone 6’s sapphire display is true. Apparently sapphire is good for more than just pretty pieces of jewelry - they also make quite a compelling component for a stronger-than-ever smartphone. A sapphire display, while not completely indestructible (as proven by a series of tests by YouTubers Marques Brownlee, Unbox Therapy, Austin Evans, Jonathathan Morrison, and Joe Rogan), was proven to outlast the terrors of your everyday smartphone obstacles (bending, scratching with keys/knives/nails) as well as having no noticeable distortion between colors when looking through the display. While it’s unclear whether the display was indeed sapphire, whatever material was used in those tests already had my vote.
Assuming it is sapphire, however, I have to say that I think that the mere strength of this screen might make people rethink the iPhone. I suppose the iPhone has never truly been “off” the map, but the company certainly isn’t doing as well as it was when this whole smartphone generation first started. The massive influx of Android devices certainly seems to grab more attention these days, giving Apple the disadvantage being that the company makes one (now two?) phones a year instead of the dozens that Android ends up with. Still, more doesn’t necessarily mean better, and I think this stronger-than-steel (literally) sapphire display could win the hearts of people in favor of Apple again. I know it’s already starting to sway me, and for three basic reasons.
I have a child.
I don’t like screen protectors.
The clumsy part is the biggest issue for me. It doesn’t matter how big or small the phone is, I don’t think I’ve ever owned a phone that I haven’t dropped at least once. It’s a frightening experience, because it can only turn out one of two ways: you come out unscathed or you’re going to owe somebody money for a new one. 50/50 or not, it’s not fun. There are also times where my son likes to run off with my phone, and everybody knows that children and phones (that you care about) just don’t mix. I would feel better if my screen had a significantly less chance of breaking should he get ahold of it. Finally, while I’m a huge advocate of screen protectors right now, I would love to let that be a part of technology’s past. According to the tests performed in the previously mentioned YouTube videos, it would seem that a lack of a screen protector really wouldn’t bring a lot of harm to the phone (as long as you don’t plan on shooting arrows at it or sanding it down with sandpaper, that is).
Even if you’re not a parent, or you’re not typically clumsy, or you prefer the peace of mind that a screen protector brings, I think that this sapphire screen is a big step in the right direction. Durability in a smartphone is a huge deal; the longer the phone lasts, the better. I think that’s a sentiment we can all get behind.