The article and summary are bogus.
The parchment carbon dating gives a range on when the animal (sheep, goat, camel) died, not when the actual writing was done. But it does establishe an "parchment made no later than X" and a "writing can't be earlier than Y" scenario.
Muhammed died in 632 AD, and the parchment is dated up to 645 AD (latest). So it is most likely a copy written by a companion of Muhammed, possibly in his lifetime, or shortly after.
What this dating refutes beyond a doubt are the now discredited theories about Muhammed being a mythical figure, and the Quran invented in the late 7th century. For example, the Hagarene theory by Crone and Cook and the Nevo-Koren Crossroads to Islam theory are untenable now. This manuscript is earlier than all these theories claim.
It is written in the Hijazi script with no dots or diacritics. This script originated in Hijaz (Arabian Peninsula west coast), and was dominant in the few decades following the death of Muhammed, before the Kufic script dominated (from Iraq). The amazing thing is that I can read most of it, almost 14 centuries later!
By the way, I contacted Dr. David Thomas, one of the researchers, to ask if the ink was carbon dated, or just the parchment. He said just the parchment, so as not to affect the writing. I also asked if this was a palimpsest (older parchment that was washed and written over at a later date), and he said that it is not, since there are markings that show in that case.
So, this is as early a written copy as can be.
The interesting part is that the 645 AD date pre-dates the standardization of the Quran that was done around 650 AD by the 3rd successor to Muhammed, Caliph Uthman. Research shows minor variations, but nothing significant.
Here is his full reply:
1. Has the testing methodology taking into account the ink as well as the parchment?
DT: No, only a tiny corner of the parchment. The test involves the destruction of the object, and we did not want to lose any text.
2. The reason I ask about the dating of the ink is this: What is the possibility that this manuscript is a palimpsest? Could the parchment be indeed from 645AD, but the ink was washed away and the parchment recycled at a later date?
DT: There are usually signs of underwriting in palimpsests, though there are none here. It is theoretically possible that the ink, and therefore, the Qur'an, was written on parchment that had been prepared earlier, but our assumption is that this parchment was prepared expressly for this Qur'an and therefore the writing would have been applied very soon after the surface was prepared.
3. Caliph Othman's unification of the Quran was around 650 AD (he died in 656 AD). Has there been any text variance analysis on this document to see if it is a pre-Othmanic or post-Othmanic variant of the Quran text? For example, similar to the work on Sanaa 1 Manuscript.
DT: This analysis was the subject of Alba Fedeli's PhD thesis (which involved the research that led to the discovery of this date). There are some minor variants from the standard 'Uthmanic text, though in these fragments nothing significant.
In later emails he says that Fedeli's thesis is due to be published soon.