Apple is awarding Corning another $45 million investment from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund, in addition to the $450 million itâs already given to the US-based company over the past four years. According to Appleâs announcement, the investment will âexpand Corningâs manufacturing capacity in the US and drive research and development into innovative new technologies that support durability and long-lasting product life.â
Corning provides glass for a variety of Apple products, including the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. The two companies have a history dating back to the original iPhone. Last year, they collaborated on the iPhone 12 lineupâs Ceramic Shield technology, which Apple claims is âtougher than any smartphone glassâ and makes its latest flagships four times more resistant to damage from drops. As well as Apple, Corningâs Gorilla Glass is used in phones from countless Android manufacturers including Samsungâs Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Apple doesnât say exactly how Corning will use the $45 million investment, but its timing coincides with recent reports that Apple could launch a foldable iPhone in 2023. Back in 2019 we heard Corning was developing a bendable version of its glass, and last February the company said it expects devices using the technology to reach the market in 12 to 18 months. If it works, the glass could allow for durable foldable smartphones that donât require a layer of plastic protection used in Samsungâs latest foldables.
âToday, when you buy a phone with Gorilla Glass, youâre touching glass âŠ thatâs what weâre working towards,â Corning said of its ambitions for bendable glass last year.