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The Industry Implications Of A Possible All-Glass Apple '360 Degree' iPhone

Apple Inc. NASDAQ:AAPL, Corning Incorporated NYSE:GLW - The Industry Implications Of A Possible All-Glass Apple '360 Degree' iPhone

Next year, Apple Inc. AAPL 0.22% will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the most successful product of all time — the iPhone. Several news sources have reported that Apple may choose to make a big design splash by opting for a glass back and/or curved edges that would enable new functionality.

Goldman Sachs analyst Doug Clark recently discussed the market impact of an all-glass iPhone. According to Clark, Goldman’s base case still calls for the 2017 device to have its standard metal back, but the firm is also preparing for two contingencies: 1) glass casings for high-end 5.5” or larger models and 2) glass casings for all 2017 iPhone models.

Goldman sees Buy-rated Corning Incorporated GLW 0.2%, which gets roughly 11 percent of its revenue from the iPhone, as the biggest potential winner.

“In our scenario analysis, we estimate 2–5 percent potential revenue upside in 2017 and 6–9 percent upside in 2018 for Corning’s Specialty Materials segment, which could further help reverse two years of sales declines,” Clark explained.

In addition, Goldman believes Lens Technology and Biel Crystal are well-positioned to benefit on a glassier iPhone.

On the other hand, Goldman estimates that iPhone metal casing supplier Catcher could take up to a 15 percent hit on its blended iPhone casing ASP in 2018 if Apple opts for glass casings.

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