Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is investing $200 million from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund in Corning, which has been supplying the glass for iPhones since 2007, as part of its commitment to spur manufacturing in the United States.
After facing criticism for moving almost all of its manufacturing to China to save costs, the Cupertino-based tech giant set up the fund to invest at least $1 billion in creating highly skilled jobs for Americans.
Corning is one of Apple’s long-standing suppliers. The iPhone maker said that the new investment will support the company’s R&D, capital equipment needs, and state-of-the-art glass processing.
“This partnership started 10 years ago with the very first iPhone, and today every customer that buys an iPhone or iPad anywhere in the world touches glass that was developed in America,” Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said in a statement.
Corning CEO Wendell Weeks said that the investment will benefit its Harrodsburg production facility in Kentucky.
Apple Investment Hints at Wireless Charging and AR Plans
Analysts at research firm Oppenheimer believe that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could be investing in Corning so it can build materials necessary to support wireless charging and augmented reality in the next iPhones, CNBC reported.
Rumors suggest that Apple is building a long-distance wireless charging technology for its 2017 iPhones.
According to Oppenheimer analyst Andrew Uerkwitz, Corning might build glass or ceramic materials to support wireless charging as well as develop lightweight glass for Apple’s rumored augmented reality glasses.
“Metal can interfere with wireless charging technology,” Uerkwitz told CNBC. “That means you need glass on the back of the phone, but [the] glass that won’t break. Or you need to use ceramics. Corning has a long history of investing in both glass and ceramics.”
Meanwhile, shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) closed up 1.4% on Friday. The stock is up 34.78% so far this year.