One of the main reasons for iPhone warranty claims is cracked and broken screens.
With the iPhone 5, Apple addressed part of the problem by replacing the glass back casing with anodized aluminum with inlays along the top and bottom made of ceramic glass (on the white and silver model) or pigmented glass (on the black and slate model).
Apple also used sapphire crystal to cover the rear camera. Here’s what Apple has to say about it on the iPhone 5 design page:
Although the surface of the iSight camera is as clear as glass, it’s not made of glass. It’s actually sapphire crystal, whose hardness is second only to diamond on the scale of transparent materials. That means the surface of the lens is far less likely to scratch.
So we were quite hopeful when an MIT Technology report claimed that future smartphones could come with displays made entirely of sapphire to improve durability. However that is not going to happen anytime soon as Vertu COO Perry Oosting in an interview with Swiss news site Tages-Anzeiger [Google Translation] revealed that Apple experimented with sapphire displays, but found them unfeasible.
Vertu makes luxury watches, which come with sapphire display. Oosting claims that Apple had hired a number of Vertu employees to work on the project, but had to shelve it as it is not possible to produce sapphire displays in the numbers required by Apple.
Meanwhile, Corning, the company that currently manufactures Gorilla Glass used in iPhones, iPods and iPod touches, claims that Gorilla Glass 3, which was launched earlier this year, is not only less prone to shattering, but it also doesn’t scratch as easily.
It will be interesting to see if Apple will use Gorilla Glass 3 in iOS devices that will launched this year.