By far the strangest story to pop up this week has been the surprise bankruptcy filing of GT Advanced Technologies, which had been Apple’s top supplier of sapphire for displays of the Apple Watch and other devices. The Wall Street Journal now reports that GT Advanced is looking to get out of the sapphire business all together “after a failed effort to produce material for Apple’s smartphone screens.”
Apparently, Apple really did want GT to produce sapphire screens for the iPhone 6, which instead shipped with Gorilla Glass displays. However, once GT failed to deliver enough material for these displays, Apple withheld a crucial $139 million payment that plunged the company into a liquidity crisis.
At the moment, we don’t know any details about why GT failed to meet Apple’s metrics because the company has insisted that it can’t reveal any details about its agreements with Apple or else it will face $50 million in damages from breaking confidentiality agreements. But the fact that the company is now looking to leave the sapphire supply business all together shows that Apple will likely look elsewhere when it comes to finding a future partner to supply sapphire for the Apple Watch and other gadgets.