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iPhone 6 leaks show a device begging for extreme torture-testing

If the rumors hold true, the next iPhone could sport a nearly indestructible and perhaps flexible sapphire screen. That sound you hear is Apple muttering, "Bring it on" to device torture-testers everywhere.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
Contributing editor Eric Mack covers space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is ericcmack@protonmail.com.
Eric Mack
2 min read
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The iPhone 6 seems to be itchin' for a fight, if the rumors are true. Video screenshot by Eric Mack / CNET

A video making the rounds this week purports to show a sapphire crystal screen panel from the upcoming iPhone 6 withstanding some pretty serious scratches and stabs from a hunting knife and some keys.

It's an impressive demonstration that, along with other rumors that the next iPhone's screen could also be curved or flexible, means that those like myself in the device torture-testing community might need to up our game in the near future.

In the past, simply dropping a device (sometimes from great heights) has sufficed, but to literally scratch the surface of sapphire's vulnerabilities is probably going to take a little more creativity.

First, I'd be interested to see how a sapphire screen stands up to some extreme cold. OK, so my keys won't scratch it in my pocket, but what if I'm in Antarctica climbing the ridge that NASA recently identified as the coldest place on Earth? While there, I've probably foolishly put my ice axe in the same backpack compartment as my iPhone 6 and they've been getting jostled around together in there all day. When the time comes to take a very important selfie at the end of my quest, hopefully my screen won't be scratched.

But more importantly, when my battery is inevitably dead and I'm unable to take that once-in-a-lifetime shot and I stab my iPhone 6 screen with the aforementioned ice axe in sheer subzero frustration, will it still hold up?

I'm also reminded of the time I was hanging out in Mexico wearing the shirt I was married in while hooking up a solar panel to an old car battery (feel free to feast upon this bit of stupidity in the comments). Yes, I did manage to get a few drops of battery acid on that shirt, ruining my matrimonial garb forever. Naturally, I'm now left to wonder -- what if I had been holding an iPhone 6 in between that shirt and that fateful drip of acid? Would a sapphire screen have withstood that bit of torture? Would my wife still trust me with tools more complicated than a flathead screwdriver?

Inevitably we're just going to have to increase our torture-testing budget if the next iPhone really is this tough. In the past, tossing an iPad in hot lava seemed to force the device to succumb to the elements, so clearly more trips to Hawaii are in order. I'll be happy to take that assignment. Any volunteers to do the Antarctica test?