As it turns out, material transference was the culprit, but not exactly in the way Corning had predicted. When I spoke with Corning at the time, they suggested what might have happened was that the soft material of the pick had transferred to the Note 7 display and that was what made it look like the glass had scratched.
In a new video covering his investigation into the bizarre result, Zack outlines how he discovered that it was material transference after all. But it wasn’t transference of the pick material onto the glass, as Corning had surmised, but of pieces of the pick sharpening block getting transferred onto the pick.
According to Zack, fragments of the much harder sharpening block had become lodged in the end of the pick, inadvertently making the tip of the 3 pick as hard as an 8 on Mohs hardness scale. That is what had scratched the glass on the Note 7, not the 3 pick underneath.
After repeating the test with a fresh set of Mohs picks, Zack discovered what everyone had expected in the first place: the Galaxy Note 7’s display glass resists scratches until a 6 pick was used.
With this said, it still beggars belief that in the first video, consecutive picks seemed to show increasingly severe scratches, especially when we’re talking about the ultimately random transfer of pieces of the pick sharpening block onto the picks themselves. If the sharpening block is an 8 on Mohs scale, then shouldn’t all of the scratches be of the same intensity?
It also seems odd that we never saw a similar result in the 30-odd other scratch tests on the channel (I can only assume Zack has sharpened his picks on more than one occasion). While I’m still not convinced we’ve seen the full story on this one, at the very least the picture is a little clearer than it was.
Whether you buy into the grand conspiracy theories surrounding the original video (views equals dollars and whatnot), it’s nice to get an explanation from the producer of the video correcting the earlier result. The correction video won’t get picked up in the same way as the original was, for obvious reasons, but at the very least, props must be given to Zack for admitting he made a mistake.