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iPhone 6 rumor rollup for the week ending May 24

John Cox | May 27, 2013
iPhone delays derail 4G rollouts, flexible Gorillas, rainbow phone.

iPhone 6, iPhone 5S will have flexible Corning Gorilla Glass screens
International Business Times' Erik Pineda seems to have made this rumor up on his own. At bottom, the idea that the Next iPhone probably will use a cover glass from the same manufacturer that's been supplying glass for previous iPhones can hardly be considered a revelation.

It's the word "flexible" that suggests something new. But IBT is simply deceptive. The headline to the post is "iPhone 6, iPhone 5S Will Have Flexible Screens Made of Corning Gorilla Glass on Release Date?"

But Pineda's opening sentence to his post casts a different meaning on the word: "Tough as the robust gorilla but flexible enough to suit any screen size and designs, that is the next screen material geared for the upcoming iPhone 6 and iPhone 5S, courtesy of device screen maker Corning."

So what Pineda means to say is that Corning's Gorilla Glass is adaptable to different form factors and screen designs, not that you can bend it or fold it.

Pineda bases his post on what he says is an "interview" by a Corning executive, Jeffrey Evenson, with MacRumors. Pineda doesn't bother to link to the MacRumors report but here it is, by Eric Slivka.

But there is no interview. Slivka is simply summarizing a "feature" published by Corning on its website. The feature, which Corning actually classifies as a "news feature," is nothing more than a press release, a Q&A, and four videos that show Corning's latest offering, Gorilla Glass 3, being subjected to different tests.

Neither Slivka, nor Corning, mention iPhone 5S or iPhone 6.

Corning's point is that "sapphire glass," which the Q&A explains is not actually a glass but a "crystalline material that can be manufactured by applying high heat and other demanding conditions to purified aluminum oxide," is harder and therefore more resistant to scratching than Gorilla Glass. Apple uses sapphire as the cover to its iPhone 5 and fifth-generation iPad touch rear camera lens; some watchmakers have used it as the cover glass for wrist watches.

But sapphire suffers from a range of process requirements and other characteristics that, in Corning's view, make it both costly and unsuitable for use as the cover material for a smartphone screen.

Not surprisingly, the company touts the virtues of the newest Gorilla Glass, which offers "significantly improved scratch resistance and greater toughness. We achieved these benefits by re-engineering the atomic structure of the glass so if the glass does scratch, it retains its strength." And, of course, it's lighter, less brittle, allows more light through, and is much cheaper to manufacture than sapphire.


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