And that may be good news for your love life
Updated: June 7, 2017
There are few cracks in this plan.
By the end of this year, Apple will place machines that can mend cracked iPhone screens in roughly 400 third-party repair centers in 25 countries, Reuters reports. In the next few months, the company will add 200 machines, and then will roll the rest out as the year progresses. Pilot testing for these machines has already begun at stores in Miami, the Bay Area, London and more.
Of course, not everyone will have a repair machine near them, but there may be another solution to cracked phone screens in the coming years. A researcher at Queens University — working with scientists from Stanford University, the University of California, California State University and the National Institute for Materials Science — has discovered a material that may prevent smartphones from cracking.
It was created by combining semiconducting molecules C60 with layered materials like graphene and hBN, a type of boron nitride; the report notes that this combination works “because hBN provides stability, electronic compatibility and isolation charge to graphene while C60 can transform sunlight into electricity.”
“Our findings show that this new ‘miracle material’ has similar physical properties to silicon [which many smartphones are now made of] but it has improved chemical stability, lightness and flexibility, which could potentially be used in smart devices and would be much less likely to break,” says Elton Santos, one of the researchers.”The material also could mean that devices use less energy than before because of the device architecture so could have improved battery life and less electric shocks.”
There is still at least one problem that may prevent this from being used to make your smartphone: It lacks what’s called “band gap,” which is essential to turning on and off a phone. But Santos says he may have a possible solution — the addition of a something called TMDs (transition metal dichalcogenides), which could remedy this.
While you may not have an iPhone repair machine near you, and you can’t get phones made using this yet — and it could take years to do that even if the kinks are worked out — you probably wish you could. A survey out earlier this year of 5,500 singles from Match.com found that 86% of women negatively judge a man who carried a smartphone with a broken screen (there was not a corresponding stat for men). And yet 15% of people say they’re walking about with a broken screen, according to a survey of 2,400 smartphone users by SquareTrade.
Even if you’re happily coupled up, a nearly unbreakable smartphone likely appeals to you. From 2007 – 2014 Americans spent more than $23 billion getting their damaged smartphones fixed, according to SquareTrade. That’s because repairs don’t come cheap. To fix a broken iPhone screen, Apple typically changes between $129 and $149, once the phone is no longer under warranty.
This story was originally published on June 2, 2017 and was updated on June 7, 2017.
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