Corning, the company behind the popular Gorilla Glass brand, today announced the next iteration of its cover glass for mobile displays, a likely candidate for future Apple devices including the iPhone 7. Corning says that Gorilla Glass 5 survives drops onto rough surfaces four times better than other solutions, noting that clarity of the display and touch sensitivity are not affected.Gorilla Glass 5 is said to survive facedown drops from 5.2 feet onto a rough surface 80 percent of the time. The product is the successor to Gorilla Glass 4, which was introduced in the fall of 2014. Gorilla Glass 4 was only advertised as capable of surviving drops from up to 3.2 feet, though that was still a notable improvement over previous iterations.According to a study cited by Corning, over 85 percent of smartphone users have dropped their phones at least once per year, while 55 percent have dropped their devices three or more times. That’s why, Corning says, that it focused time around on improving Gorilla Glass’s drop resistance:“With each successive generation of Corning Gorilla Glass, we have taken cover glass technology to new levels. Gorilla Glass 5 is no exception, extending Corning’s advantage in drop performance over competitive glasses,” said John Bayne, vice president and general manager, Corning Gorilla Glass. “With many real-world drops occurring from between waist and shoulder height, we knew improving drop performance would be an important and necessary advancement.”Currently, Gorilla Glass 5 is available to manufacturers and Corning expects it to start appearing in consumer devices later this year, though no specific partnerships were announced. The company says that Gorilla Glass has been used on over 4.5 billion devices worldwide by over 40 different major brands.
It’s unclear at this point if the iPhone 7 or iPhone 8 will take advantage of Corning’s new Gorilla Glass 5 offering. Apple’s agreement with Corning has been interesting in the past. The two companies are said to have an agreement that does not allow Corning to list Apple or the iPhone on its website, though they are working together. Nevertheless, Gorilla Glass 5 seems likely for upcoming iPhones.