Shares of industrial materials powerhouse Corning (NYSE:GLW) have been on a roll thus far in 2014, having outperformed the S&P 500 by an impressive 15% as we pass the halfway mark.


Source: Corning

One key component of Corning's long-term growth story has been the resounding success of its hugely popular Gorilla Glass, which has become industry-standard in advanced smartphones and tablets like Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhones and iPads.

And as you might imagine, although by no means its primary financial driver, Corning's Gorilla Glass has grown to become a somewhat meaningful line-item in Corning's finances. However, it appears that those same companies that helped put Gorilla Glass on the map -- companies such as Apple and Samsung -- could be fast at work in finding its replacement as well.

Sapphire: the new thing in smartphones?
As many know, tech giant Apple has been investing heavily in sapphire technologies in a big way.

Late last year, Apple invested $578 million to help finance the construction of a large-scale plant with specialty materials manufacturer GT Advanced Technologies (NASDAQ: GTAT) that many believe could lead Apple to replace Gorilla Glass with sapphire in future products. And more recently, other names, like Samsung and LG,have also expressed interest in using sapphire in future smartphones and tablets.

So as Apple, Samsung, LG, and others investigate sapphire's significant potential, how large a threat does this pose to Corning and its investors? In the following video, tech and telecom specialist Andrew Tonner looks into this evolving storyline.