Dial Back The Hype: Alleged iPhone 6 Display Fails Sandpaper Test, Suggesting Screen Isn't Pure Sapphire

Apple still hasn't announced its next iPhone, but that hasn't stopped the Internet from talking about and leaking information in relation to what's likely to be called the iPhone 6. Much of the recent focus has been on the iPhone 6's supposed sapphire crystal display, a seemingly much more resilient material than Corning's Gorilla Glass and the same material Apple uses on the Touch ID home button and camera cover for the iPhone 5S. Or is it? A new video has us second guessing the iPhone 6 display's true make up.

In a previous video, Marques Brownlee, host of the YouTube channel MKBHD, showed the alleged iPhone 6's sapphire crystal display standing up to a number of different torture tests. Brownlee tried scratching the display with a set of keys, followed by jabbing the panel with a knife, both of which failed to leave a scratch. He also bent the display backward to an uncomfortable angle, but it never snapped or cracked.

iPhone 6 Scratched

A few days later, a Chinese-language video emerged with even more forms of abuse on what it claims is an iPhone 6 display. Once again, the panel proved durable, withstanding fire, hammers and nails, a box cutter, and more. The only test it failed was being run over by a vehicle.

This all bodes well for iPhone fans, though there's evidence suggesting the iPhone 6's display probably isn't pure sapphire, and it's certainly not scratch proof. Brownlee just posted a follow up video, this time using different sandpaper grits. In doing so, he was able to scratch the iPhone 6's display rather easily.

So, what's going on? Brownlee concludes that the iPhone 6's display is not pure sapphire like the Touch ID home button. Instead, Brownlee believes Apple is using a "composite involving sapphire." His suspicion is reinforced by the fact that Apple already patented a fusion process in which a sapphire structure can be mechanically modified to reduce chipping or fracturing.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. According to Brownloee, using a large slab of pure sapphire crystal for the main display would be costly, while also making the phone too rigid. A little bit of play is desirable to keep the display from shattering, and that's what the composite material allows for.