Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) supplier Corning’s (NYSE:GLW) bendable Willow Glass has been a central subject of the buzz about the iPhone maker potentially creating a smart watch. Corning chief technology officer Pete Bocko told The New York Times earlier this month that the thin, flexible glass would be just the component needed to create a device to wrap around a cylindrical object, such as a human wrist.
However, the company has now delivered news that will put a dampener on aggressive timeline predictions for the launch of such a watch.
Corning president James Clappin told Bloomberg on Thursday it would probably take at least another three years before companies can start making flexible displays using the new Willow material. The glass can be made in a roll similar to newsprint and will eventually be used to make curved or flexible displays, he said.
“People are not accustomed to glass you roll up,” Clappin said. “The ability of people to take it and use it to make a product is limited.”
Clappin did add mysteriously that his company was putting “a lot of effort” in teaching “very big name” customers how to handle the glass spools.
Corning has already sent out samples of the flexible glass to manufacturers of phones, tablets, and TVs, and it may be used this year in some simple products, such as a flexible barrier for solar panels or as a thin film behind some touch panels.
Apple is said to have a team of about 100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device, and main manufacturer, Foxconn, has reportedly already been briefed about the product. Meanwhile, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is reported to be working on eyeglass-embedded computers to be introduced in 2014.
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