iPhone Screen Made Of Sapphire? What It Would Mean For You

What is sapphire crystal and why might Apple be using it in its upcoming iDevices?

iPhone Screen Made Of Sapphire? What It Would Mean For You
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If you're paying attention to any of the latest Apple rumors, you've probably heard the words "sapphire crystal" once or twice.

Apparently it's set to make an appearance in the latest iteration of the iPhone, and could even show up in Apple's long-rumored iWatch.

But this is not the blue beauty you're thinking of. So — what is it, and why would you want to spend — according to the Wall Street Journal — even more money on an iPhone with a sapphire crystal display? 

GT Advanced Technologies — a sapphire manufacturing company backed by Apple — explains it's a synthetic sapphire material created in specialized furnaces often used for LEDs and airplane windows.

It also already appears in Apple's camera lenses and Touch ID fingerprint readers. (Video via Apple)

We've all seen or even experienced the dreaded cracked iPhone screen. According to Stanford Materials, a company that supplies rare earth minerals, synthetic sapphire ranks 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness — diamond ranks 10. Here's the gem: a sapphire crystal display would mean fewer scratches and cracks for your precious iDevice.

And as far as the ever-elusive iWatch goes, sapphire crystal is a commonly used lens in high-end watches. With an ever-exposed area like the wrist, you'll probably want a tough material protecting your device.

When it comes to price, TechCrunch reports that higher cost rumor from the Wall Street Journal might not be accurate. "By using a cheaper glass as the ‘base’ of the laminate, with sapphire on top, Apple may actually be able to keep the costs down."

Still, not everyone is on board the sapphire crystal display train. The Wall Street Journal notes sapphire is heavier than glass due to its density, so it could add weight to the ultra-light device.

And the outlet says Corning, the company behind Gorilla Glass insists its phone display material "outperformed other materials, including sapphire, in tests in which screens are dropped from different heights." Gorilla Glass was used in several iDevices. (Video via Corning)

Whether we'll see a higher priced, heavier phone remains to be seen. Because we've got to go back to the typical Apple rumor mantra: we won't know for sure until Tim Cook takes the stage at the reported September 9 press event.

This video includes images from Getty Images, William Hook / CC BY SA 2.0, and Joe Wilcox / CC BY NC SA 2.0.