How Corning won Apple back and built the strongest Gorilla Glass yet

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Corning's Gorilla Glass. Photo: Corning
Gorilla Glass is the go-to material for today's touchscreens. Photo: Corning

Corning’s relationship with Apple looked doomed earlier this year. Having manufactured the touchscreens for every iPhone since 2007, the Gorilla Glass bosses were all but sure they were being ditched in favor of synthetic sapphire crystal, set to be supplied by Apple’s hot new partner, GT Advanced Technologies.

But while Apple’s affair with GT has imploded spectacularly, Corning is back on Cupertino’s crush list after stepping in at the eleventh hour to create super-sized displays for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Now Corning is convinced its latest technological advance — Gorilla Glass 4, its toughest version yet — will banish sapphire suitors for the immediate future.

“Sapphire is a really, really nice material that’s very good for reducing scratches,” Dave Velasquez, Corning’s director of marketing and commercial ops, told Cult of Mac. “However, we feel very strongly that glass is the best material for touch panel cover glass. When you weigh up everything from cost to drop-testing, to the amount of energy that’s needed to make it, in our opinion Gorilla Glass is clearly the best material to use.”

Corning SVP Calls Sapphire Glass Expensive And Environmentally Unfriendly

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It's the rumor pretty much every Apple analysts and blogger in the world predicted for the last 8 months and everyone got it wrong.
It's the rumor pretty much every Apple analysts and blogger in the world predicted for the last 8 months and everyone got it wrong.

In news that will come as a shock to absolutely no one, it seems that Corning Glass (makers of Gorilla Glass) aren’t big fans of Sapphire glass.

Asked by Morgan Stanley analyst James Fawcett his thoughts about “one large handset and device maker” planning to use Sapphire in its products, Tony Tripeny, a senior vice president at Corning Glass, responded that:

Corning’s New Glass Will Make Your Next iPhone’s Screen Even Stronger, More Colorful & Low-Power

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Although Apple doesn’t like to talk too much about it, they admit right on their official website that all of the glass used in their iPhone and iPad displays are made by Corning, makers of Gorilla Glass.

Corning’s always looking to make their glass stronger, thinner and more useful to Apple, though, which is why they’ve just announced Corning Lotus XT Glass, which looks to be a prime contender for use in the upcoming iPhone 5S, iPad 5 and iPad mini 2.

The video above, frankly, is pretty boring. Here’s what you need to know: Lotus XT Glass is a new type of glass from Corning that is specifically designed for use in high-performance displays, like Retina displays. Its primary characteristics are that they allow more light through, so Lotus XT Glass reduces power draw (light goes through easier, so a backlight needs to do less to compensate) and increase color vibrancy. In addition, Lotus XT Glass is easier for manufacturers to work with, reducing manufacturing costs and increasing yields.

Press release is after the jump.