So long, Gorilla Glass! Apple's new iPhone and watch to have Sapphire screens

Apple's next-generation devices will no longer sport Gorilla Glass screens but rather the highly scratch-resistant Sapphire Glass screens.

For many years, Corning has, er, cornered the smartphone market with its Gorilla Glass. Many manufacturers, including Samsung and Apple, use the technology as the front glass on their smartphones and other devices because of its robust nature and scratch-resistant shielding. However, several reports have claimed Cornings' dominance is under threat.

The most recent report from The Wall Street Journal has suggested that a rival technology called Sapphire Glass will muscle into the smartphone market this year, providing greater protection for the next iPhone and Apple's much-rumoured smartwatch. In fact, the report claimed Sapphire Glass intended for Apple's upcoming gadgets are expect to roll off production lines "this month".

Sapphire Glass is already used in the miltary - for vehicles - and some other sectors, such as on quality watches as the face plate. Sapphire crystal can also be found in use in the iPhone 5, as the surface of the iSight camera lens. It is super strong, being harder than any other natural material except for diamond, and can therefore take a huge amount of battering. That said, while Gorilla Glass screen costs roughly $3 per device, Sapphire Glass is $30 or more.

It's still not clear if the all models of the next iPhone will feature Sapphire Glass. Apple is reportedly considering using Sapphire screens in more-expensive models of the new and larger iPhones intended to debut this autumn, meaning Sapphire might only appear on iPhones with higher capacity flash storage. The report also noted Apple's significant investment in Sapphire, indicating rival smartphone makers likely won't be able to adopt the costly technology.

READ: Smartphones could soon ditch Gorilla Glass

Another point worth noting is that Apple probably isn't considering any new technology for its next devices at this point. The iPhone 6, for instance, might unveil on 9 September, according to rumours, and hit retail shelves soon after. Apple's plans are likely ffinalised, and the company wouldn't switch huge details, such as glass material for screens, at the last moment.

Keep in mind The Wall Street Journal might simply have reported this news late, and maybe Apple has already begun production with Sapphire Glass. Either way, the world will know what's definite in a few weeks.