Apple plans to build new manufacturing plants in the United States, according to President Donald Trump.
In a recent interview, Trump claimed Apple CEO Tim Cook promised to help revitalize American manufacturing by building “three big plants, beautiful plants.” Trump didn’t say what the plants would be used for or where they would be located. But he swears they’re coming.
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.