The highly anticipated relationship between GT Advanced Technologies Inc. — a sapphire glass manufacturer and supplier — and Apple Inc. took a surprising turn this week.
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According to Reuters, “GT Advanced Technologies Inc., Apple Inc’s partner in a sapphire glass plant in Arizona, filed for bankruptcy on Monday [Oct. 6] in a stunning turn of events for a company whose fortunes looked bright only a few months ago.”
The latest report is almost an aside from the news that Apple would not use the company’s sapphire material for its iPhone 6 — which debuted in September 2014.
Apple penned a $578 million deal with GT Advanced Technologies Inc. right around this time last year. The materials were first rumored to be featured in Apple’s new smartphone when the company invested in the parts producer back in November 2013.
Currently, Apple uses the innovative material for its phone cameras; however, one of the major sapphire purposes will come in the form of the Apple Watch. The glass is slated to be featured on the watch’s face.
The Apple Watch will be released shortly after the new year.
The Guardian notes, “It is not known when Apple would have made the decision not to use GT Advanced’s materials for the screen, nor whether it has other suppliers of sapphire — a crystal of aluminium oxide which is one of the hardest materials known. If GT Advanced is its only supplier for the faceplate of the Apple Watch, Apple might have to help its supplier through bankruptcy or buy the company in order to safeguard that resource.”
It is known that the sapphire materials manufacturer did experience financial setbacks due to the cost of its new Arizona plant — a facility that would be used primarily to produce Apple technology resources.
The company had hoped Apple would invest money in the plant in addition to the funds agreed upon in the initial contract.
“GT Advanced Technologies will continue operations, relying on cash reserves of $85 million to cover day-to-day expenses. Management is pursuing additional financing from debtors to keep the company afloat,” Forbes reports. [/show_to]