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Apple drops hints about why its sapphire supplier went bankrupt

Published Oct 23rd, 2014 10:30PM EDT
Apple GT Advanced Technologies Bankruptcy Explained

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The most surprising Apple-related story over the past few weeks hasn’t had anything to do with leaked gadgets — instead, it’s been about GT Advanced Technologies, the company that was a major supplier of sapphire screens for Apple products that shockingly filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month.

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

Now Re/code has gotten Apple to talk on the record about this bizarre turn of events and the company hints for the first time about why GT ran into trouble.

“Apple put a lot of effort into an ambitious new sapphire manufacturing process with GTAT which is not ready for production,” an Apple spokesperson told Re/code. “We’re going to continue evaluating GTAT’s progress on larger sapphire boule development, as well as consider other options for the facility. We remain committed to the city and we’re going to work with Mesa and Maricopa County to help the GT Advanced employees who will be impacted by this find new jobs.”

If you read a bit between the lines here, it sounds like Apple was too confident that it could start mass-producing sapphire using this “ambitious” new process this year. Since Apple’s plans obviously fell through in this regard as evidenced by the fact that there’s no sapphire display on the iPhone 6, it seems that GT was the one to fall on its sword.

That said, it’s good to hear Apple is still committed to producing jobs in the area and that it’s still looking into mass producing sapphire displays for future products, whether or not those displays come from GT or not.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.