Apple announced this week that they will be investing an additional $45 million in US-based Corning Incorporated, the maker of Gorilla Glass.
Apple posted a news release regarding the investment claiming it will help “expand Corning’s manufacturing capacity in the US and drive research and development into innovative new technologies that support durability and long-lasting product-life.
The investment will be pulled from Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund which is valued at about $5 billion. The fund was initially established back in 2017 so that Apple could invest in new manufacturing jobs, as well as infrastructure in the United States.
Up until this point Corning had already received $450 million from that fund, and that initial investment worked to develop Apple’s newest ceramic shield screen technology which is found in the new iPhone 12 lineup. This new technology was created to make these iPhone’s even more drop resistant than previous iPhones which are already equipped with strong Gorilla Glass.
Apple released a statement about the new ceramic shield technology and how it specifically works:
“The new material was enabled by a high-temperature crystallization step which forms nano-crystals within the glass matrix. Those specialized crystals are kept small enough that the material is transparent. The resulting material makes up the revolutionary Ceramic Shield.”
Apple initially used the Ceramic Shield “to fashion the new front cover featured on the iPhone in the iPhone 12 lineup. Prior to Ceramic Shield, embedded crystals have traditionally affected the material’s transparency, a crucial factor for the front cover of the iPhone because so many features, including the display, the camera, and sensors for Face ID, need optical clarity to function.”
Corning and Apple have been in business together since the original iPhone hit the market. Initially, Apple wasn’t even going to use Gorilla Glass technology in their phones, and instead were going to go with a scratch-prone plastic screen. However, when the invention of Gorilla Glass first emerged from Corning, the company made a last minute switch, and Gorilla Glass has been the staple of all iPhones ever since.
Gorilla Glass itself has since been refined multiple times to become even more durable than it was 10 years ago. Beyond Apple the glass is found in many other popular mobile products from companies like Samsung, LG, and more.
Apple hasn;t announced yet how exactly Corning will be using this new investment, however, the Gorilla Glass inventors have been working on new forms of bendable glass that could potentially work for a future foldable iPhone.
While we may not know the specifics of the investment, it’s an exciting step for Apple and their future product line ups.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.