Apple has invested $200 million in Corning’s “revolutionary glass production methods,” sparking speculation that new glass breakthroughs could aid in the development of new features in future Apple devices, CNBC reports. Apple has been dealing with Corning for a decade—ever since the first iPhone—and Oppenheimer analyst Andrew Uerkwitz thinks the new investment backs up previous reports that Apple’s new generation of iPhones will use glass or ceramics to facilitate wireless charging. “Metal can interfere with wireless charging technology,” Uerkwitz said. “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.”
Other analysts see the potential for augmented reality applications with the new materials. Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights said to create its rumored augmented reality glasses, Apple will “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.” The terms of Apple’s investment in Corning as part of the company’s $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund initiative are unclear, but Moorhead thinks it’s possible Apple could demand exclusive rights to an intellectual property that stems from research funded by the investment.