Manufacturers Disappointed Again by Sapphire-free iPhone 6S

Sapphire screens were missing on Apple’s latest smartphone again.

Apple fans waited in eager anticipation in front of their computer monitors during the twilight hours of Sept. 10, Beijing time, just to catch a glimpse of the new products at the annual fall product launch event.

New iPhone 6S has added a rose gold color. (All photos courtesy of Apple)

However, the newly unveiled iPhone 6S designs failed to excite Apple fans in the sapphire supply chain. The cause? Sapphire screens remained absent on Apple’s new iPhone 6S/ iPhone 6S Plus.

Sapphire makers longed for the introduction of sapphire screens in the iPhone product lineup since the last generation iPhone 6. Rumors that iPhone 6 would be equipped with sapphire spread in the industry for a while, but the rumors came to an end when GTAT filed for bankruptcy protection. Since then people have placed their hopes of the material being applied in next generation Apple iPhones.

Compared to sapphire screened rumors prior to the release of iPhone 6, related rumors have died down considerably on the iPhone 6S. In late August, market rumors confirmed the new iPhone 6S was sapphire-free. This occurred after U.S. smartphone case maker Spigen released iPhone 6S cases on Amazon. The iPhone 6s cover cases are compatible with iPhone 6 models, which indicated the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S shared the same dimensions. If iPhone 6s used sapphire screens, the phone would have been slightly thicker.

Then on Sept. 4, 2015, media reports pointed that sapphire would also be removed from the iPhone 6s camera lens. A rumor that has proved untrue. According to LEDinside research analysts, sapphire is still being used in the camera lens.

On the left the new rose gold finished iPhone 6s and on the right the gold iPhone 6s. 

Explanations from the industry about the missing sapphire panels on the iPhone 6s have pointed towards the material’s failed drop tests. Sapphire is a very scratch resilient material that has a rating of 9 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, higher than the average sand or dust particles rating of 7 to 8. However, the material’s flaw is it is vulnerable to breaking, and the risks of it cracking when dropped increases. It is still very difficult for manufacturers to solve mass production and cost issues.

Apple’s product launch confirmed media reports speculations, but there was never an official explanation to why the company abandoned sapphire screens on the iPhone 6s.

Although, Apple has not been the pioneer sapphire screened smartphones, it has not prevented other smartphone manufacturers from applying the material in their products. Dakale 3X, Huawei’s Ascend P7 and other Chinese manufacturers’ smartphone manufacturers introduced the material into their products. Following the launch of sapphire-screened Dakale 3X on the market retailed for RMB 999 (US $ 156.60), many other phones were also released on the market.

The new rose gold iPhone 6s. 

Following in the footsteps of Dakale 3X and Huawei Ascend P7, new smartphone maker Let TV released a sapphire screened Le Max smartphone model. The phone uses a sapphire screen, and comes in pink and gold finishes. The pink Le Max phones are being sold for RMB 6,188, while the gold ones are being retailed for RMB 5,888. Both phones are being sold at a price close to that of iPhone 6.

Even though sapphire screens did not appear on the iPhone 6s, there were still plenty of surprises in the specs. According to insider info, the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have kept the same designs as the previous generation phone, but are now using a new 7000 series aluminum alloy, and the company added a new rose gold model phone.

The new iPhone 6s 3D Touch technology allows users to operate an App's menu without running the app.

Additionally, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus supports 3D Touch technology, which allows the screen to respond to touch and pressure. The 3D Touch concept is similar to Force Touch introduced into Apple Watch and the MacBook. The smartphone’s touch panel can detect differences in the fingers touch pressure, and respond with different functions. For instance in the display interface, users can open an app menu by simply touching it without running the app.

The iPhone is equipped with a 12 megapixel iSight rear camera in the back, an increase of more than 50% in pixel resolution. The filtering technology ensures interference between pixels is reduced, and in terms of resolution the new iPhone supports 4K videos and recording. In the front camera, the new iPhone uses a 5 megapixel camera.

(Author: Sophie Liu, Editor, LEDinsidehttp:// Translator: Judy Lin, Chief Editor, LEDinside)

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