Kevin Bullis of the MIT Technology Review looks at manufactured sapphire, which is currently used for armor on military vehicles and may be coming soon to an iPhone screen near you:
Sapphire is harder than any other natural material except diamond; by some measures, it’s three times stronger than Gorilla Glass, and it is also about three times more scratch resistant. That’s why Apple uses it now to protect the camera on its iPhone 5. [Eric] Virey says that all major mobile-phone makers are considering using sapphire to replace glass. “I’m convinced that some will start testing the water and release some high-end smartphones using sapphire in 2013,” he says.
(HT: The Big Picture)