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Corning and Apple Announce Continued Collaboration 

Corning and Apple Announce Continued Collaboration

May 2017

When Steve Jobs introduced the original iPhone to the world, the prototype's screen actually featured hard plastic instead of cover glass, Apple's COO Jeff Williams told an audience of plant workers, reporters, business, and community leaders Friday at Corning's Harrodsburg, Kentucky, facility.

The world loved it, but there was one problem. Steve called to tell his COO that when he carried the device in his pocket, the screen scratched right away.

"He said, 'We need glass,'" Jeff told the group. "And I said, within three to four years, technology may evolve…

"He said, 'No, when it ships in June it needs to be glass. I don't know how we're going to do it, but when it ships in June it's gotta be glass.'"

That's where Corning came in, Jeff explained.

"Wendell said, 'I think I have an idea.' The teams scrambled. When we launched in June, customers had an iPhone that had the beautiful feel of Corning glass and was scratch resistant. It helped set the tone for iPhone."

Jeff used this story to explain why Corning is the first company to receive an investment from Apple's new Advanced Manufacturing Fund as part of the company's commitment to foster innovation among American manufacturers. Earlier Friday, Apple announced that it would be making a $200 million investment in support of Corning's R&D, capital equipment needs, and state-of-the-art glass processing focused on work done at Corning's Harrodsburg facility.

"We could have deployed this technology in any number of locations worldwide, but we chose Harrodsburg because of the legacy of this plant and the talent of our people." - Wendell Weeks, Corning Chairman, CEO, and President

"All of that work happened right here in Harrodsburg and Apple owes you a big thank you," Jeff said. "Not only did that create Gorilla Glass. Today every iPhone and iPad that a customer buys anywhere in the world, they touch glass developed right here in the United States."

Wendell Weeks, chairman, CEO, and president, said that looking back at a decade of collaboration between Corning and Apple, the companies are excited to begin this new chapter in their partnership.

"A chapter that will not only enable next-generation mobile consumer electronics, but also sustain and create high-value manufacturing jobs," Wendell said.

Corning's CEO noted that one of the reasons that Apple is such a successful innovator is because they recognize that product innovation depends on process innovation.

"They understand that market leadership can be won or lost on the manufacturing floor," Wendell said. "Corning is proud to work with Apple to apply American ingenuity and manufacturing skills to continue solving some of the world's toughest technology challenges."

Recognizing Corning's important leadership in advanced U.S. manufacturing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attended the event, applauding the announcement and the work done at the Harrodsburg facility.

"Like millions of people around the world, the last thing I look at at night and the first thing I look at in the morning is my iPhone," the senator said. "Unlike millions of people around the world, I think of Harrodsburg, Kentucky. And this amazing Gorilla Glass that you guys make here.

"I just wanted to come by and tell you how proud I am for what you do here."

Event Coverage

Apple & Corning Press Conference

Corning CEO Wendell Weeks joins Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at a press conference on Friday, May 12 in Corning's Harrodsburg, Ky. facility.