Inside Apple writer Adam Lashinky at Fortune and Steve Jobs Biography writer Walter Isaacson recently discussed a great story of how Steve Jobs got Corning to (re)invent Gorilla Glass:
..a really great CEO in this country, Wendell Weeks, who runs Corning Glass. Steve Jobs when he does the iPhone decides he doesn’t want plastic, he wants really tough glass on it, and they don’t make a glass that can be tough like they want. And finally somebody says to him, because they were making all of the glass in China for the fronts of the stores, says, “You ought to check with the people at Corning. They’re kind of smart there.” So, he flies to Corning, New York, sits there in front of the CEO, Wendell Weeks, and says, “This is what I want, a glass that can do this.” So, Wendell Weeks says, “We once created a type of process that created something called Gorilla Glass.” And Steve said, “No, no, no. Here’s how you make really strong glass.” And Wendell says, “Wait a minute, I know how to make glass. Shut up and listen to me.” And Steve, to his credit, shuts up and listens, and Wendell Weeks describes a process that makes Gorilla Glass. And Steve then says, “Fine. In six months I want enough of it to make–whatever it is–a million iPhones.” And Wendell says, “I’m sorry, we’ve actually never made it. We don’t have a factory to make it. This was a process we developed, but we never had a manufacturing plant to do it.” And Steve looks at him and says what he said to Woz, 20, 30 years earlier: “Don’t be afraid, you can do it.” Wendell Weeks tells me… Because I flew to Corning, because I just wanted to hear this story. Wendell Weeks tells me, “I just sat there and looked at the guy. He kept saying, ‘Don’t be afraid. You can do this.'”
WI: Wendell Weeks said he called his plant in Kentucky that was making glass for LCD screens, and said, “Start the process now, and make Gorilla Glass.” That’s why every iPhone in your pocket and iPad has Gorilla Glass made by Corning. This is the reality distortion field that is, I submit, part and parcel of a guy who doesn’t believe the rules apply to him, even the rule about never cut in line.
AL: And of course Corning uses this in their marketing now, they market Gorilla Glass for other customers.
Fast-forward to today where Corning introduced its Gorilla Glass 2 that is the same strength as the original but at 20 percent thinner to allow for better colors and touch that is more responsive. Alternatively, it is much stronger at the current thickness….
The Verge had a look at the testing of the strength at CES 2012 below.
There has been much discussion if Apple still uses Gorilla Glass but it would be surprising if they did not still use it in the bigger display products, especially the iPad.
The Full Press release is below:
Corning Unveils New Gorilla® Glass 2
With new glass composition, tough gets better – with device performance benefits for sophisticated user experiences
CORNING, N.Y., January 09, 2012 – Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) introduces Corning® Gorilla® Glass 2, the next generation of the company’s widely accepted, damage-resistant cover glass for consumer electronic devices, at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. The outstanding performance benefits of this new glass will be showcased through live demonstrations in the Corning booth, #12642 Central Hall, during show hours tomorrow, Jan. 10, through Friday, Jan. 13.
Corning Gorilla Glass 2 enables up to a 20 percent reduction in glass thickness, while maintaining the industry-leading damage resistance, toughness, and scratch resistance customers have come to expect from the world’s most widely deployed cover glass. The thinner Gorilla Glass 2 enables slimmer and sleeker devices, brighter images, and greater touch sensitivity. These benefits can provide electronics manufacturers with superior design flexibility as they address consumer demand for increasingly high-performing, touch-sensitive, and durable mobile devices.
“Corning Gorilla Glass has enjoyed tremendous market adoption in the high-growth mobile handset and computing device market, providing a replacement for plastic and legacy soda-lime glass as a protective cover and elegant design solution,” said James R. Steiner, senior vice president and general manager, Corning Specialty Materials.
“We knew Corning Gorilla Glass could get even better. So, in response to our customers’ drive toward thinner form factors, we designed this new glass to enable meaningful reduction in thickness without sacrificing the outstanding glass performance for which Gorilla Glass has become highly recognized. This glass, along with Windows operating system innovations from Microsoft, will help deliver exceptional beauty, performance, and toughness for new Windows PCs. You will see this early this year with Windows-based PCs which we expect to be the first in-market laptops designed to leverage the performance of our new second-generation glass,” Steiner remarked.
“We’re very excited about the introduction of Corning’s thin, high-performing Gorilla Glass 2,” said Nick Parker, vice president, Worldwide OEM Marketing, Microsoft. “As Windows continues to bring new experiences to customers on new devices, we look to Corning to bring innovative, durable glass solutions that enable brighter images and greater touch sensitivity.”
Product qualification and design implementation for Corning Gorilla Glass 2 are underway with Corning’s global customers, a number of whom are expected to unveil new devices using Corning Gorilla Glass 2 during the coming months.
First introduced in 2007, Corning Gorilla Glass set the industry standard for damage-resistant cover glass. Today it is the most widely deployed cover glass, used by more than 30 major brands and designed into more than 575 product models, spanning more than 500 million units worldwide.
As one of the company’s fastest growing businesses, Corning Gorilla Glass is expected to reach more than $700 million in 2011 sales, nearly triple 2010 results.
Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” (within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995), which are based on current expectations and assumptions about Corning’s financial results and business operations, that involve substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. These risks and uncertainties include: the effect of global political, economic and business conditions; conditions in the financial and credit markets; currency fluctuations; tax rates; product demand and industry capacity; competition; reliance on a concentrated customer base; manufacturing efficiencies; cost reductions; availability of critical components and materials; new product commercialization; pricing fluctuations and changes in the mix of sales between premium and non-premium products; new plant start-up or restructuring costs; possible disruption in commercial activities due to terrorist activity, armed conflict, political or financial instability, natural disasters, adverse weather conditions, or major health concerns; adequacy of insurance; equity company activities; acquisition and divestiture activities; the level of excess or obsolete inventory; the rate of technology change; the ability to enforce patents; product and components performance issues; retention of key personnel; stock price fluctuations; and adverse litigation or regulatory developments. These and other risk factors are detailed in Corning’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the day that they are made, and Corning undertakes no obligation to update them in light of new information or future events.
About Corning Incorporated
Corning Incorporated (www.corning.com) is the world leader in specialty glass and ceramics. Drawing on more than 160 years of materials science and process engineering knowledge, Corning creates and makes keystone components that enable high-technology systems for consumer electronics, mobile emissions control, telecommunications and life sciences. Our products include glass substrates for LCD televisions, computer monitors and laptops; ceramic substrates and filters for mobile emission control systems; optical fiber, cable, hardware & equipment for telecommunications networks; optical biosensors for drug discovery; and other advanced optics and specialty glass solutions for a number of industries including semiconductor, aerospace, defense, astronomy, and metrology.
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