Apple to pour $200 million into Kentucky factory that first deve - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Apple to pour $200 million into Kentucky factory that first developed glass for the iPhone

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Gorilla Glass (courtesy of Corning, Inc.) Gorilla Glass (courtesy of Corning, Inc.)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  Apple will invest $200 million in the Harrodsburg, Kentucky factory that first developed the scratch-resistant glass for the original iPhone in 2007, the company said Friday.

The Harrodsburg plant, owned by New York-based Corning Inc., first manufactured the Gorilla Glass ahead of the initial launch of the iPhone, and the glass is now used in some 4.5 billion electronic devices made by Apple and other manufacturers worldwide.

“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,” Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, said in a news release.

The $200 million will help pay for Corning’s research and development, capital equipment needs and “state-of-the-art” glass processing at the Harrodsburg plant, according to the news release.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, is set to join Corning CEO Wendell Weeks and Apple’s Williams at a news conference at the plant Friday afternoon.

It’s unclear how many jobs the investment will create at the plant, which employs about 400 people.

Before the iPhone’s launch in 2007, the Harrodsburg factory turned on a dime from making LCD glass to making Gorilla Glass after the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs challenged Corning to come up with a more resilient glass for the smartphone, according to a 2012 story by this reporter in The Courier-Journal.

By 2012, Corning made the majority of the glass for the iPhone and iPads at its plants in Taiwan and Japan, closer to Apple’s production of the devices in China.

The $200 million is part of $1 billion Apple plans to spend “to foster innovation among American manufacturers” through the company’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund, according to the release.

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2017 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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