Corning, the Kentucky-based company responsible for the ultra-durable Gorilla Glass used on the iPhone and other smartphones, recently announced that the third iteration of its famed glass is right around the corner.
As you might expect, Corning’s next-gen glass is even more durable than its predecessors and will debut at CES next week.
Gorilla Glass 3 has been improved at the molecular level, incorporating a proprietary feature called Native Damage Resistance (NDR). According to Corning, NDR reduces the propagation of flaws, the appearance of scratches and does a better job of maintaining the overall retained strength of the glass. As a result, GG3 claims a three-fold improvement in scratch resistance, 40 percent reduction in the number of visible scratches and 50 percent boost in retained strength after the glass becomes flawed.
You might recall the interesting anecdote from Steve Jobs’ biography regarding Gorilla Glass wherein Jobs personally called up Corning CEO Wendell Weeks before the iPhone launch and essentially willed the glass into existence.
Walter Isaacson recounted in an interview:
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.'”