Patently Apple reported this morning on Apple’s newest sapphire patent that was published earlier today. The patent notes the need to protect control mechanisms, including buttons, pushbuttons, slide and toggle switches from environment effects, which include temperature extremes, humidity, contamination (I’m guessing this one is accidental dropping into a toilet or other unsanitary places), physical and electrical contact scratching and impact.
The main focus of the patent is to improve durability and reliability of electronic devices. The patent also defines the ”electronic devices” that may deploy sapphire cover materials including; portable phones, digital assistants, personal computers, computer displays, media players and other portable (like the iWatch) and stationary electronic devices. Other devices that are also named in the patent include; mobile telephones with media player capabilities, game players, remote global positioning and telecommunication devices, laptops, desktops, notebooks, hand-held and ultraportable computer devices.
The patent also indicates that sapphire could be used on the front, back or within the interior housing of the device.
Full disclosure: I am long GTAT