Apple has awarded Corning the first grant of its $1 billion investment aimed at boosting high-tech manufacturing jobs in the United States. The glassmaker will receive $200 million.
Corning has worked with Apple for a decade — ever since the original iPhone’s Gorilla Glass — to create the glass found on its devices. Apple’s contribution as part of its “Advanced Manufacturing Fund” will support Corning’s R&D, capital equipment needs, and state-of-the-art glass processing.
What me, worry? Not Corning. The Gorilla Glass maker has just unveiled a new type of glass which they say is just as hard (and therefore unscratchable) as sapphire. They’re calling it Project Phire. Go figure.
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.”
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 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.
If Apple were to release an iWatch in the next year or so, it would assumedly need Willow Glass to be ready for mass production. Unfortunately, it will be several more years before Corning’s flexible displays are ready for consumers.
LAS VEGAS, CES 2013 – I don’t care how battered and beaten the backs of my devices get. In fact, I kind of like the scars – they add character. But even the tiniest scratch on the screen drives me crazy. So I’m pretty stoked about Corning’s brand new Gorilla Glass 3, which promises to shrug off sharp stuff even better than before.
Corning has today announced its third-generation Gorilla Glass, and as you’d expect, it’s significantly tougher than its predecessors. Gorilla Glass 3 boasts a new feature called Native Damage Resistance (NDR), which promises to provide three times the scratch resistance of Gorilla Glass 2. It’ll be on show at CES next week before making its way to the next generation of smartphones, tablets, and more.