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Apple sapphire supplier GT Advanced will shut down Arizona, Massachusetts plants

Apple sapphire supplier GT Advanced will shut down Arizona, Massachusetts plants

October 10, 2014

According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple sapphire provider GT Advanced Technologies will shut down its plants in Arizona and Massachusetts after a recent bankruptcy filing. The closures will cost 890 jobs.

And in court filings, the company said that its contracts with Apple for sapphire were “oppressive and burdensome.”

Here’s more from the report:

“The cash burn at GTAT’s sapphire manufacturing operations for the benefit of Apple is not sustainable,” lawyers for GT Advanced said in the request to wind down the facilities.

While the company said it regrets the potential lost jobs, winding the facility down by the end of the year will help “stop its mounting losses.” The company said it would seek to close the plant during a court hearing Thursday.

It’s been an interesting week for the company and Apple. Apple was reportedly “surprised” by GT Advanced Technologies’ bankruptcy filing, which news of first broke on Monday.

Apple’s decision to withhold a $139 million payment to the company, for an unknown reason, was reportedly a big reason behind the bankruptcy.

Sapphire from the company is used to protect the Touch ID sensor and camera sensor on the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus. It was rumored for most of the year that both new handsets would also be sporting sapphire screen covers, but Apple decided to stick with Corning’s Gorilla Glass.

The two higher-end models of the Apple Watch will be protected by sapphire screens. But as we reported on Tuesday, Apple will more than likely use material from another manufacturer.

For its part, Apple said earlier in the week it was focused was preserving jobs at the Arizona plant. Apple owns the plant and land while GT Advanced ran the facility.

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