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Apple's Arizona Sapphire Facility 'Commencing the Transition to Volume Production'

gt_sapphire_furnaceApple's sapphire partner GT Advanced Technologies today announced financial results for the second quarter of 2014, acknowledging publicly that the companies' facility in Mesa, Arizona is "commencing the transition to volume production."
"The build-out of our Arizona facility, which has involved taking a 1.4 million square foot facility from a shell to a functional structure as well as the installation of sapphire growth and fabrication equipment, is nearly complete and we are commencing the transition to volume production," Gutierrez continued. "We remain confident about the long-term potential of the sapphire materials business for GT.
Overall, GT reported a net loss of $86 million for the quarter, a result that is not unexpected given that the company is significantly restructuring itself as part of the Apple deal, essentially shutting down its sales of sapphire furnaces to other customers in order to devote all of those resources to setting up the Arizona facility for Apple. The facility is owned by Apple and being run by GT, with Apple providing some upfront financing to help get production rolling.

GT allocated over $45 million to "sapphire production ramp up costs" during the quarter, with the company stating that those costs relate to "production inefficiencies and inventory losses" associated with building out its facilities and are not part of ongoing operations for the company. That amount is up from just $1.9 million in the prior quarter, signaling the company's massive move to launch production for Apple.

GT also confirmed that it expects to meet the targets outlined in its deal with Apple, allowing to receive the final $139 million prepayment from Apple by the end of October.

Apple has used sapphire for the camera lens cover on several iOS devices and for the Touch ID sensor on the iPhone 5s, but the company is pursuing a massive increase in sapphire usage for future products. The iPhone 6 display has been rumored to include a sapphire cover, but rumors are divided on whether the material will be included on all models or just higher-end models, as well as whether the entire cover will be full sapphire or a thinner lamination layer.

Apple's rumored iWatch has also been speculated to include a sapphire cover, as the material is fairly common on high-end watches to minimize scratching.

(Image: GT sapphire furnace)

Top Rated Comments

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16 weeks ago

I find those haters that praise companies like Samsung and attack Apple at every opportunity, and trolls that are so blind to their devotions that they go to the extent to suggest that Apple is in trouble/Apple is never wrong/Android and Windows are better.

I just found it laughable.

However, I believe that people (and the press, shareholders, etc.) should pressure Apple to do more stuff like this.

Basically, with few hundred million dollars, they cornered the Saphire market and will only profit directly (their products) or indirectly (selling Saphire to others).

Why isn't Apple doing the same with Tesla's Gigafactory? Why isn't Apple investing in "power" (general resources, green energy, sell it)? Heck, not even a bank-like operation with so many cash?

Visa would quickly **** their pants.

If every initiative went wrong, Apple would recover in 1 month, while getting a lot of potential extra billion dollars each quarter and not depending as much on hardware sales.

Then again, what do I know? I'm nobody. Yet. :)


Remember Nokia? They owned the phone market until they ****ed up. Their peak value in todays dollars would be ~375B dollars, the value of Apple a year ago.
Rating: 7 Votes
16 weeks ago
In before "There's no 5.5" iPhone, so it can't be for that".
Rating: 5 Votes
16 weeks ago

I find those haters that praise companies like Samsung and attack Apple at every opportunity, and trolls that are so blind to their devotions that they go to the extent to suggest that Apple is in trouble/Apple is never wrong/Android and Windows are better.

I just found it laughable.

However, I believe that people (and the press, shareholders, etc.) should pressure Apple to do more stuff like this.

Basically, with few hundred million dollars, they cornered the Saphire market and will only profit directly (their products) or indirectly (selling Saphire to others).

Why isn't Apple doing the same with Tesla's Gigafactory? Why isn't Apple investing in "power" (general resources, green energy, sell it)? Heck, not even a bank-like operation with so many cash?

Visa would quickly **** their pants.

If every initiative went wrong, Apple would recover in 1 month, while getting a lot of potential extra billion dollars each quarter and not depending as much on hardware sales.

Then again, what do I know? I'm nobody. Yet. :)


The only thing that is certain is death and taxes. It would be foolish to say that Apple could do anything and recover from any disaster or blunder. You never know what could be right around the corner.

trolls that are so blind to their devotions

:rolleyes:

Remember Nokia? They owned the phone market until they ****ed up. Their peak value in todays dollars would be ~375B dollars, the value of Apple a year ago.


Many companies have been rolling in the cash and plowing through history like a freight train only to get caught up in a quagmire and either went away in the night or greatly diminished. Nothing is infallible, yet some would have you believe that Apple is.
Rating: 5 Votes
16 weeks ago
Ladies and gentlemen, here is your annual iPhone shortage production constraint
Rating: 4 Votes
16 weeks ago
I hope this means both the 4.7" and 5.5" iPhones get sapphire glass displays along with the iWatch.
Rating: 3 Votes
16 weeks ago

'Commencing the Transition to Volume Production'


Colonel Sandurz: Prepare ship for light speed.

Dark Helmet: No, no, no, light speed is too slow.

Colonel Sandurz: Light speed, too slow?

Dark Helmet: Yes, we're gonna have to go right to ludicrous speed!
Rating: 3 Votes
16 weeks ago

I find those haters that praise companies like Samsung and attack Apple at every opportunity, and trolls that are so blind to their devotions that they go to the extent to suggest that Apple is in trouble/Apple is never wrong/Android and Windows are better.

I just found it laughable.

However, I believe that people (and the press, shareholders, etc.) should pressure Apple to do more stuff like this.

Basically, with few hundred million dollars, they cornered the Saphire market and will only profit directly (their products) or indirectly (selling Saphire to others).

Why isn't Apple doing the same with Tesla's Gigafactory? Why isn't Apple investing in "power" (general resources, green energy, sell it)? Heck, not even a bank-like operation with so many cash?

Visa would quickly **** their pants.

If every initiative went wrong, Apple would recover in 1 month, while getting a lot of potential extra billion dollars each quarter and not depending as much on hardware sales.

Then again, what do I know? I'm nobody. Yet. :)


Perhaps they don't want to be a jack of all trades, master of none, type operation?
Rating: 2 Votes
16 weeks ago

Well yeah... Apple has enough money to buy a small country ;)

What I meant was... Apple spent a lot of time (and some money) on sapphire... while no one else seemed to care.

If sapphire ever becomes commonplace... I wonder if people will remember Apple's part in that.


Oh, they will, just like with touchscreens.

"it was obvious"
"they tried to keep the tech for themselves."
"patented Saphire. lol"

Let's ignore how we own the modern touchscreen paradigm to Apple ALONE. If it wasn't for them, people would still be using Blackberry Bold.
Rating: 2 Votes
16 weeks ago

I find those haters that praise companies like Samsung and attack Apple at every opportunity, and trolls that are so blind to their devotions that they go to the extent to suggest that Apple is in trouble/Apple is never wrong/Android and Windows are better.

I just found it laughable.

However, I believe that people (and the press, shareholders, etc.) should pressure Apple to do more stuff like this.

Basically, with few hundred million dollars, they cornered the Saphire market and will only profit directly (their products) or indirectly (selling Saphire to others).

Why isn't Apple doing the same with Tesla's Gigafactory? Why isn't Apple investing in "power" (general resources, green energy, sell it)? Heck, not even a bank-like operation with so many cash?

Visa would quickly **** their pants.

If every initiative went wrong, Apple would recover in 1 month, while getting a lot of potential extra billion dollars each quarter and not depending as much on hardware sales.

Then again, what do I know? I'm nobody. Yet. :)



Thinking like that you'll keep being "nobody", as you say, for a while.

Having knowledge on any matter is vital to form any sort of informed opinion before sugesting something like "Apple should branch out and add a "bank-like" operation". I don't even know what to say to that... Your post left me at a loss for words. There are so many reasons and arguments that should have crossed your mind and prevented even the concept of that idea from ever forming... I was already tired, it was a long day, now I'm exhausted. I think the feeling is incredulity. Well have a nice evening or whatever is more appropriate accordingly to your time zone.
Rating: 2 Votes
15 weeks ago

Where do they say all of them have credit cards?

http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/23/itunes-now-has-nearly-800-million-accounts-most-with-credit-cards-attached/

As long as I know they only talk about the number of iTunes accounts and everybody suppose that each one has a credit card, and each one is different.

Please, if there is some data about the number of credit cards I would like to know it so I can acknowledge my error, because I have accounts without credit card and others for different people with the same card.

Hm, here:
http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2014/04/24/itunes800m (http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2014/04/24/itunes800m).
However,

Tim Cook did point out that most of these 800 million accounts have credit card information attached, which is both impressive and frightening.

How much is "most"?
That gives us least 400 million. Still a huge number. And that was way back before April. And growth is still accelerating (http://www.asymco.com/2014/04/29/monthly-apple-users/).
Rating: 1 Votes

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