What if the iPhone was so strong and durable that it simply did not need a traditional case? Cases cost anywhere from $20 to $100 so an unbreakable, unscratchable iPhone would poke a big hole in the accessories industry. Can Apple make an iPhone that does not need a case?
Sapphire & Liquid Metal
Apple already has some sapphire in the iPhone; specifically the home button covering the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5s.
Apple also invested tens of millions of dollars in Liquidmetal, a metal alloy which is both light and super strong. Let’s put two and two together (or, more accurately, one and one) and see what we get.
An iPhone with a sapphire screen, and perhaps a sapphire back, encased in a liquid metal frame would be incredibly strong (not to mention expensive).
It would also be a first for Apple. An iPhone model that doesn’t need a case. Many iPhone users go naked and carry their iPhones in a pocket and don’t use a case. The iPhone is subject to scratching (keys in the pocket), and drops (which damage corners and shatter glass screens), hence the hugely profitable case industry.
Making The No Case Case
Could an iPhone with sapphire and Liquidmetal negate the need for a case? Is that Apple designer honcho Jony Ive’s greatest desire? An iPhone that won’t scratch, break, shatter, or crush so there’s no need to cover up his beautiful industrial design with a cheap plastic or grungy leather case?
Apple’s new deal with a sapphire factory in Arizona indicates that it could put out 100-million to 200-million sapphire screens each year. Starting this year.
Apple already has patents to laminate ultra thin sheets of sapphire to glass– strong, but low cost; as well as patents to bond sapphire to steel. Could that mean sapphire on the iPhone’s back?
Sure, why not?
Product marketing is often about differentiation, and future iPhones could be differentiated from the competitive riffraff by having a nearly indestructible body.
If future iPhones won’t shatter or break or scratch or get dinged, would you still buy a case?