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

Ries Avatar
93 months 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.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheHateMachine Avatar
93 months 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.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Azzin Avatar
93 months ago
In before "There's no 5.5" iPhone, so it can't be for that".
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TWSS37 Avatar
93 months ago
Ladies and gentlemen, here is your annual iPhone shortage production constraint
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kdarling Avatar
93 months 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!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iamMacPerson Avatar
93 months ago
I hope this means both the 4.7" and 5.5" iPhones get sapphire glass displays along with the iWatch.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived last October in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
iCloud General Feature

iCloud+'s New Custom Email Domain Feature Now Available in Beta

Wednesday August 25, 2021 7:48 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, users with a paid iCloud+ storage plan can personalize their iCloud email address with a custom domain name, such as johnny@appleseed.com, and the feature is now available in beta. iCloud+ subscribers interested in setting up a custom email domain can visit the beta.icloud.com website, select "Account Settings" under their name, and select ...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
macbook air deals

Deals: Amazon Drops Price of 256GB M1 MacBook Air to New Low of $849.99 ($149 Off)

Friday August 27, 2021 6:16 am PDT by
Amazon today introduced new low prices on the M1 MacBook Air for both 256GB and 512GB storage options. To start, you can get the 256GB model for $849.99, down from an original price of $999.00. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Only Silver and Gold are...
maxresdefault

New MacBook Pro Models Coming at WWDC, Suggests Leaker

Monday May 24, 2021 1:27 pm PDT by
New MacBook Pro models are coming at WWDC, according to leaker Jon Prosser who has a mixed track record when it comes to predicting Apple's plans. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Prosser provided no additional information, but there are new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models in the works. The new MacBook Pros will feature the most radical redesign to the MacBook Pro ...
calculatorapp

iOS 11 Bug: Typing 1+2+3 Quickly in the Calculator App Won't Get You 6

Tuesday October 24, 2017 2:03 pm PDT by
A bug in the built-in Calculator app in iOS 11 is getting some major attention this week, despite the fact that it's been around since iOS 11 was in beta testing. At issue is a calculator animation that causes some symbols to be ignored when calculations are entered in rapid succession. You can try it for yourself: Type 1+2+3 and then the equals sign into the Calculator app quickly. Due to...
maxresdefault

'Being James Bond' Retrospective Will Be Free to Watch Through Apple TV App

Tuesday August 31, 2021 8:25 am PDT by
Update 9/7/21: "Being James Bond" is now available to watch through the Apple TV app. Ahead of the theatrical release of James Bond film "No Time To Die" on October 8 in the United States, a 45-minute retrospective titled "Being James Bond" will be available to watch for free through the Apple TV app, according to Deadline. The story from MGM is said to feature Daniel Craig reflecting ...
ted lasso notchless phone

No, That Notchless iPhone Spotted in 'Ted Lasso' Isn't the iPhone 13

Tuesday August 31, 2021 2:15 am PDT by
Recent sightings of a notchless iPhone in highly popular Apple TV+ comedy "Ted Lasso" have led to sensational headlines suggesting this is a canny bit of product placement on Apple's part and that the iPhone 13 will be notchless. In actuality – and this could go without saying – the phone in question is very likely just showing a poorly superimposed display added in post-production. Notchless ...