Corning knows that accidents happen. Clumsy people lose their grips on their devices, tablets fall out of tourists' hands when photographing Times Square and phones slip out of pockets. That's why the company introduced the latest iteration of its ubiquitous glass, Gorilla Glass 6, with the promise of protecting devices from multiple drops.
The firm originally developed Gorilla Glass in 2007 for use in the first iPhone. Now, it's used in more than 6 billion laptops, tablets, smartphones and other devices, according to figures Corning shared in its announcement. Glass is found in pretty much every modern tech product--displays rely on it, of course, and companies like Apple have shown a fondness towards using glass for a phone's entire body (see: iPhone 4, iPhone X).
Corning has made Gorilla Glass increasingly resilient as it's perfected the creation process. The company has also worked to make its glass more flexible, which makes it less prone to shattering, and thinner so manufacturers can reduce the weight of their products. People have probably also gotten less careful with their devices--2007's novelty is 2018's status quo--which means products have to withstand more strenuous use.
This is where Gorilla Glass 6 comes in. Corning explained in a statement accompanying its announcement:
“As consumers become more dependent on their smartphones, the opportunity for potentially damaging drops is also on the rise. Now more than ever, it’s critical the cover glass provides outstanding protection,” said John Bayne, vice president and general manager, Corning Gorilla Glass. “Corning Gorilla Glass 6 improves upon Gorilla Glass 5 by surviving drops from higher heights, but, more importantly, has been engineered to survive multiple drops.”
The company also cited a report from survey maker Toluna claiming the average person drops their phone 7 times a year. Roughly half are from 1 meter or lower, so Corning designed Gorilla Glass 6 to survive as many drops from 1m onto rough surfaces as possible. Gorilla Glass 6 is said to have survived 15 such drops, making it "up to two times better" than its predecessor. Corning said competing forms of glass didn't make it through a single drop.
Corning has multiple customers evaluating Gorilla Glass 6 right now, and if things go well, it should reach the market in "the next several months," it said. Considering that it was made to be more durable specifically because Corning knows smartphone manufacturers want to build as much as 85 percent of their phones' chassis from glass, odds are good that you'll be able to see the difference for yourself sooner rather than later.