The patent actually describes ways that sapphire might be attached to electronics, but in doing so it reveals potential applications for the material.
We already know that Apple might use a sapphire coating to make its devices' screens even tougher than the Gorilla Glass it currently uses. Sapphire is hard to break and literally crystal clear, after all.
But how about using sapphire to dissipate heat from an iPhone's processor?
Melting for sapphire
It turns out sapphire conducts heat just as well as some metals do, and the new Apple patent describe mounting the crystal to a device's chip to help absorb some of those degrees.
When it comes to how the sapphire would actually be mounted, the patent describes a few techniques.
In one instance, melted plastic or metal is poured through an aperture in the sapphire surface, thereby binding them together when it cools. Then electronics can be attached to the metal or plastic.
Another method describes a molding technique that would attach other materials directly to the sapphire substrate's edges.
A sapphire future
And crystal specialists GT Advanced Technologies revealed in November 2013 they had signed a multi-year supply deal with Apple.
Apple's plans for the material going forward are unknown, but it's clearly investigating every option for its new iDevices.
- Is a fancy sapphire fingerprint reader enough to make the iPhone 5S the best? Read TechRadar's review to find out what we think.
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Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.
Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for Playboy.com, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.