Apple has long been rumored to bring a set of hardcore components to the iPhone lineup – next year they just might do it. A set of patents this week shows how Apple is preparing for – or at least protecting itself in case of the eventuality of – next-level hardness in outer components. This isn’t only for the iPhone, but the Apple Watch too.
The patents released this week and last week to the United States Patent and Trademark Office show methods for sapphire treatment. They also mention and show places where Apple would like to place – or has already placed – sapphire in mobile devices. Places for sapphire to be – or potentially be – include the entire front panel of an iPhone, the Touch ID button (physical or touch sensitive), Apple Watch front glass, and iPhone back-facing camera lens glass.
Images in this article come from a patent filed in June of 2015 and made public in December of 2016. This comes after Apple was rumored to include sapphire glass on the fronts and/or backs of their iPhones for the past couple of generations. This patent was filed for “System for heat treating a sapphire component” by Apple Inc., invented by Matthew S. Rogers et. all.
What would it mean for the next iPhone to roll with a sapphire front glass panel? It’d mean a whole lot more pressure put on the rest of the industry to step up their efforts to make their hero devices more rugged, that’s for certain. Sapphire-infused glass is not unbreakable, but it’s far more durable than the reinforced glass we’ve dealt with in years past.
Now that we’re in an age where smartphones aren’t all that different from one another – not in everyday use, anyway. Smartphones are able to use Sony-made image sensors to create cameras that are on-par with Apple’s setups. Apps that were once given priority development to iOS for the iPhone are now updated at the same time for Android.
As such, making a switch from Android to iOS or from iPhone to Google Pixel isn’t nearly as much of a strain as it once was. Now might be the perfect time to bring out the big guns in individual hardware component quality boosts. No longer will it be about the smartphone that’s running the best apps – instead, the hardware wars can begin anew!