Recently we got a close look at the sapphire glass display we’re expecting to see introduced with the iPhone 6, and today a trio of Apple patents appear to confirm the company’s interest in the resilient material. The new patents, which were spotted by AppleInsider on Thursday, detail Apple’s alleged plans to use sapphire for the iPhone 6 display and illuminated buttons.
The first of Apple’s three new patents describes a method for creating a “Sapphire component with residual compressive stress,” which uses the material to protect the device from breaking. The method should protect your screen from drops and intense strain, and can be used around the edges of the display or right in the middle.
A second patent describes sapphire buttons for the iPhone’s home button and volume rocker, which could be transparent and potentially lit by LED. Finally, a third patent describes how the company could embed serial markings in the sapphire glass, suggesting it could potentially cover the entire device.
All three patents are fairly recent and were originally filed in January 2013, suggesting they could be part of Apple’s plan for the iPhone 6 or possibly another future model. A handful of recent leaks all point to a sapphire display for the upcoming smartphone, but it’s still too soon to know anything for sure until Apple makes an official announcement.