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Summary:

A patent application for oil-repellant coating further suggests that Apple is looking into the use of sapphire glass for future devices.

Apple sapphire coating
photo: USPTO

Sapphire displays for future Apple devices are looking even more likely, thanks to a patent application published today by the USPTO and found by Apple Insider. The patent describes an oleophobic coating for sapphire glass, which could help the company make smudge-proof sapphire displays.

Oleophobic is a big word, but it basically refers to an oil-resistant coating. You’ll find something like this on just about every touchscreen device out there right now – it’s what keeps the oil in our skin from sticking to our devices.

Apple’s patent application describes a way to bond this coating with sapphire glass, which can then be used “on electronic devices, including, but not limited to, mobile phones and portable computing devices.”

Given that Apple filed the application in September of last year, it seems reasonable to assume the company is actively looking to implement sapphire displays in its devices at some point in the future. Shortly after the patent application filing, Apple signed a five-year $578 million deal for sapphire manufacturing with GT Advanced Technology. None of this is proof that Apple will be making the switch, but it’s looking more and more likely.

  1. The most commonly-seen scratches on current iPhones isn’t in the glass but the oleophobic coating. Changing the substrate isn’t going to make a difference.

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