By Jim Karpen updated on 01/11/2013
The annual Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas is giving component suppliers the opportunity to tout their new technologies. And it's often a harbinger for what we'll see in future iOS devices. Corning announced its third-generation Gorilla Glass, and Sharp is pitching its IGZO displays. It's hard to imagine that Apple won't adopt both of these. IGZO is exciting. According to a post on AppleInsider, IGZO displays have twice the resolution, yet use up to 90% less power. Apple has reportedly been interested in IGZO for several years, and many thought we'd see that technology in the iPad with retina display. But apparently it wasn't quite ready for prime time, given that Apple makes gazillions of devices. Sharp apprently now thinks their IGZO technology is ready, and they're promoting it hard at CES. In my mind, it's inevitable that we'll be seeing this technology in iOS devices, quite possibly this year.
In addition, Corning is promoting its new Gorilla Glass 3. Apple famously was an early adopter of Gorilla Glass — the extremely hard glass used in iOS devices from the very first iPhone. The display is very difficult to scratch. The story, as I remember it, was that Apple had been planning to use plastic in their first iPhone. But then Steve Jobs heard about Gorilla Glass, and decided at the last minute to switch to that. But Corning said it wasn't yet ready for mass production. And Jobs said something like, "You'll find a way to do it." And they did. Now most phones use it.
Gorilla Glass 3, Corning says, is three times more damaga resistant as the previous generation. They say that you'll see a 40% reduction in visible scratches, and, if the glass becomes flawed, it will be 50% more resistant to breakage compared to the previous generation. They expect devices with Gorilla Glass 3 to begin shipping by the middle of this year.