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How the iPhone 6 may have forced Apple to bankrupt its own sapphire supplier

Published Oct 10th, 2014 4:45PM EDT
Apple GT Advanced Sapphire Plant
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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.”

RELATED: Apple is ‘surprised’ that it may have bankrupted its own sapphire supplier

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.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.