While the iPhone 6 didn’t have the sapphire glass display some pundits were expecting, the makers of the Gorilla Glass displays covering Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy line has a new material up its sleeve — one that supposedly combines the best properties of both sapphire and glass.
Corning is working on Project Phire — a display material that the company says is as tough as Gorilla Glass, and almost as scratch resistant as sapphire.
Corning president James Clappin revealed the company’s plans for the new hybrid glass Friday at an investor meeting in New York, CNET reports.
“We told you last year that sapphire was great for scratch performance but didn’t fare well when dropped,” Clappin, said during the event.
“So we created a product that offers the same superior damage resistance and drop performance of Gorilla Glass 4, with scratch resistance that approaches sapphire.”
While it’s not clear which smartphone manufacturers would use the company’s new glass in their displays, no doubt Corning hopes to keep the makers of the major flagship devices on board.
Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed last January that the company’s massive investment in an Arizona factory was for sapphire glass — leading to widespread speculation the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus would come with sapphire glass displays.
Instead, the newest iPhones launched in October with the same Gorilla Glass display as the iPhone 5S.
GT Advanced Technology, the company Apple had partnered with on the Arizona factory, filed for bankruptcy in October, though the factory continues to operate.
Apple later said GT was unable to produce “any meaningful quantity of useable sapphire,” which GT said was due to “a highly contaminated environment that adversely affected the quality of sapphire material,” according to court documents.
GT is still working with Apple on sapphire glass displays for the upcoming Apple Watch, although only certain higher end models will use the material.