This week, Apple announced that they would be investing $200 million into the glass supplier Corning. This is part of their new Advanced Manufacturing Fund, an attempt to promote manufacturing jobs in America.
A number of analysts on Friday suggested that this investment delved deeper into simply display glass for the new flagship iPhone. Andrew Uerkwitz, analyst at Oppenheimer with an insight into Corning, explained that a move away from metal to glass is necessary for wireless charging technologies. So far, we know that the iPhone 8 will see a switch to a glass design but Uerkwitz claims that this investment will pave the way for wireless charging:
“Metal can interfere with wireless charging technology,” he told CNBC. “That means you need glass on the back of the phone, but glass that won’t break. Or you need to use ceramics. Corning has a long history of investing in both glass and ceramics.”
Moor Insights’ Patrick Moorhead further strengthened the rumor that Apple are working on AR glasses, stating that this partnership with Corning will allow them to create glass that “properly magnifies” the 180-augmented reality experience:
“You need specialized glass in the headset, glass that properly magnifies the 180-degree experience of AR. Also, that glass has to be really light. Corning could develop that for Apple.”
Moorhead also states that with investment, Apple would be able to obtain exclusive rights to the augmented reality experience from Corning.
When announced, Apple stated that this investment would go toward “supporting Corning’s R&D, capital equipment needs, and state-of-the-art glasses processing.” The two have been partners for 10 years but, as with most things when it comes to Apple, there’s likely to be more to the story with regards to this recent investment.