Apple isn’t out to get all of its third-party suppliers, it seems.
The company has handed $US200 million (£155 million) to one of its most important suppliers for the iPhone — glass and ceramics maker Corning.
The funding comes from Apple’s new Advanced Manufacturing Fund, and is the fund’s first investment. According to a statement from Apple, the funds will go towards Corning’s research and development, glass processing, and equipment.
Corning has been an Apple partner for the last decade and put toughened glass known as Gorilla Glass on the very first iPhone.
The partnership hasn’t always been smooth — there was a brief blip in 2014 when Apple thought about working with a company that produced synthetic sapphire crystal screens, but Corning returned to supply Gorilla Glass for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus after that partnership fell apart.
“Corning is a great example of a supplier that has continued to innovate and they are one of Apple’s long-standing suppliers,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer.
Williams noted that Corning develops its glass in the US, and that he was “proud” of Apple’s collaboration with Corning.
Apple still has $US800 million (£622 million) in its fund to invest in other US-based companies. It’s said it wants to help create new manufacturing jobs in the US, and boost production.
Corning chairman and CEO Wendell P. Weeks, who brokered Corning’s involvement directly with Steve Jobs, said the company had created almost 1,000 jobs in the US.
He said: “This investment will ensure our plant in Harrodsburg remains a global center of excellence for glass technology.”
The investment comes after Apple dropped its British chip manufacturing partner, Imagination, and some analysts think the company won’t survive as a result.