Bigger iPhones boost our bottom line: Corning CFO

Corning CFO: Optical had a great quarter

The trend toward smartphone makers, like Apple, building and selling bigger devices drives business for Gorilla Glass, Corning CFO Jim Flaws said Tuesday, shortly after his company reported better-than-expected earnings.

"A number of our large customers are having great results with their new phone models. And we are seeing people get bigger phones. And because we sell [Gorilla Glass] by the square foot, larger phones matter to us," Flaws said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

Corning reported adjusted earnings of 35 cents per share in the first quarter, a penny better than expectations. Core sales of $2.43 billion fell short of forecasts, but were up 4 percent compared to the year-ago period.

"We have a new cover glass with a Gorilla Glass 4. And we had growth in Gorilla Glass volume in this quarter by 22 percent," he said. "Gorilla Glass ... is a cover glass for products. ... Those products all have a LCD in them."

Flaws said he's not allowed to say whether Gorilla Glass helps protect the new Apple Watch screens. But he said, "I can tell you that we're on the iPhone from the beginning. We're on the iPad and we're on a number of other devices."

Read MoreWhy Apple should eclipse $1T in a year: Analyst

Corning is also working on a new type of protective glass dubbed Project Phire.

"It should be available in the second half of the year," said Flaws. "This is an attempt to make a product that has the fabulous break-resistance of Gorilla Glass 4 but also gets better scratch resistance approaching sapphire."

"We think we'll get the best of both worlds for our customers," he said.

Another driver in the first quarter was sales in Corning's optical communications segment, which increased 18 percent from the year-ago period, helped by strong demand for the company's fiber-to-the-home solutions.

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