Many of those smartphone screens have cracks. Even the new iPhones come with a glass back to allow for wireless charging. Glass is everywhere, and wherever glass is then you’ll find broken glass. iPhones are not exempt from drops and cracked screen. This year. What about next year?
Former Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs once cut a deal with glass maker Corning for a new glass design that would be less susceptible to cracks and shatters when dropped. Jobs could see the future and he knew that among few hundred million iPhone customers more than a few iPhones would be dropped. And dropped iPhones mean shattered screens.
Corning to the rescue. Except the rescue was years of iterative improvements to smartphone glass screens. Now Corning has Gorilla Glass 6.
To improve cover glass performance, Corning scientists developed and engineered an entirely new material to address the challenge of multiple drops. On average, in lab tests, Gorilla Glass 6 survived 15 drops from 1 meter onto rough surfaces, and is up to two times better than Gorilla Glass 5.
Considering all the noise Corning is making about Gorilla Glass 6, only two times better than Gorilla Glass 5 doesn’t seem all that impressive.
What we want is obvious. Glass that won’t break. Or, glass that won’t break so easily when dropped to the ground. That’s the nature of glass. The holy grail in the industry is high quality glass– the kind that meets Apple’s high standards– still breaks. My neighbor is on her second iPhone X. The glass broke. Twice. My neighbor is a hazard to iPhone screens, having dropped and broken every new model for the past five years.
What about a case?
Yes, a case helps, but my neighbor is a purist and prefers a naked iPhone. I prefer my iPhone not to break to easily so I have a case; a thick, rubbery silicon-like case with extra padding in the corners. So far, over the past five years, with a screen protector and a good case, I can report that I have yet to break the glass on my iPhone.
We all want an iPhone that won’t break when dropped. The glass on the front and the back are then to hold and protect what’s inside. I don’t want what’s inside to break, either, and Corning says nothing about that. In a couple of months iPhone CEO Tim Cook will introduce iPhone XI or whatever naming scheme Apple comes up with for the next line of iPhone X-like models. Will it have Gorilla Glass 6? Will it matter?
Glass is here to stay. The holy grail remains an iPhone of glass that won’t break when dropped. With or without a case.