Steve Jobs, steel balls and Corning’s Gorilla Glass (with video)

“You may not know it, but your smartphone or tablet probably uses Corning’s damage-resistant Gorilla Glass already,” Doug Aamoth reports for TIME Magazine. “The existence of Gorilla Glass as a consumer product came about as a result of the original iPhone.”

“As the story goes, Jobs flew to Corning, New York to meet with Corning CEO Wendell Weeks and explained that he wanted the iPhone’s screen to be made of glass, but that it had to be durable and he needed enough of it within six months to be produced for all the iPhones he was planning to sell,” Aamoth reports. “So that was the first version of Gorilla Glass, which was then followed up by the introduction of Gorilla Glass 2 at CES a year ago. Gorilla Glass 2 was basically Gorilla Glass, except 20% thinner than the original. With the recent introduction of Gorilla Glass 3 – which should find its way into devices later this year — Corning is using ‘a completely new glass composition, with durability enhancements developed at the structural level of the glass.'””

Aamoth reports, “Here’s a demo of a sheet of Gorilla Glass 3 taking its licks from a steel ball that weighs almost a third of a pound, along with some additional background about the product.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


    1. They literally need to test and demonstrate the edge cases here. I’ve seen that even the glass on the iPhone 5 can crack if dropped and hits a hard surface at an angle.

  1. WOW!!! We need to use this glass for car windshields. I dislike all the tiny chips and nicks I get while driving. Its also a safety feature, Unbelted people in a crash won’t go through the windshield.

      1. First, people should not generally take a header into a windshield in a modern car if they are wearing seat belts, especially if the airbag system is functioning properly. Second, I doubt that a thin outer layer of GG3 would change the outcome of a typical head-to-windshield impact.

  2. The glass on the 3GS was shite. Flew off my bike and it wasn’t pretty, the 4 took a small chip in the corner, but other than that was fine, don’t know about the 5, if it is any different than the 4.

  3. The video makes me proud to be an engineer. I wish we were all so verbally competent and could explain our stuff so clearly.

    GG3 may be worth waiting for. Especially if it goes into the new inexpensive iPhone.

  4. That’s good stuff by good engineers. Did you notice they even put two magnets on the base to catch the ball after each test? That’s engineers thinking things through. It’s nice to see how GG3 compares against GG2 that we have now. It’d be even better to see edge impact tests.

  5. I talked to someone at Corning a few months back and the story is that Corning had already developed Gorilla glass but couldn’t come up with an application for it.
    Steve came along with his particular need and Corning were able to use this technology to fulfill Apple’s goal and make use of a product that had previously no commercial use.
    It has made Corning a lot of money since then.

    1. The problem was affordability. In 1965 (when Corning’s engineers developed it) was the cost to produce it.

      In 1965 I was making $1.35/hr at Rhein Main Air Base in Frankfurt, Germany (US minimum wage at the time was 75¢). The microprocessor had just barely been invented. Multi-cores and 28nm process was still 45 years down the road.

  6. Once again the Google/Android/Samsung/HTC/Windows/iHaters can thank Steve Jobs & Apple for pushing the envelope and inspiring the company to create and improve the materials used by the iPhone. Which in turn benefits the actual iHaters and their stupid army of dolts!

    1. Not specifically because of Steve, but they can also thank Apple for the ARM cores used in all their mobile devices.

      The original ARM (Advanced RISC Machine) was developed by Acorn, Apple and VLSI, based off of Acorn’s “ARM” (Acorn RISC Machine) CPU.

    1. What do you reckon the chances are that if Steve Ballmer reads this headline and thinks that Steve Jobs ever had steel balls Ballmer would lay a claim to a titanium set?

      Have to be careful crossing your legs with a set of them tucked away – make your eyes water.
      Just an abstract thought on this cold dark evening in little old England…

  7. My original, first-generation iPhone, which I used until earlier this month, never suffered any screen damage whatsoever in its lifetime. My iPhone 4s (a hand-me-down from a friend) has a nasty scratch on the screen. I dunno about this gorilla glass business.

  8. The iPhone’s glass screen is so scratch-resistant, you can rub it with steel wool and not make a mark.

    The screen’s oleophobic coating repels oil so well that any soft cloth can rub it perfectly clean. (The inside of a sweatshirt works dandy.)

    And yet morons still buy screen protectors for their iPhones. They people making the things must be laughing all the way to the bank.


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