Monday03 October 2022

Sappire Glass Maker Files for Chapter 11 Protection After it Fails to Make iPhone 6 Launch

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In late 2013 Apple made the announcement that it was entering into a deal (some said exclusive) with GT Advanced Technologies. This company was going to revolutionize the next generation(s) of devices from Apple including the iPhone, iPad and more. The tech that was going to enable this revolutionary change was sapphire glass.

For those of you that might not be aware, sapphire glass is a pretty cool substance. It is both harder and more scratch resistant than Gorilla Glass. If properly used it can also have a glare reducing quality. This can be seen in standard watches that use sapphire as their crystal. The deal was to include a new plant to make the glass and everyone thought this new tech would help to push the new iPhones well past the competition.

The problem with this started to pop up about two months before the iPhone 6 was released. The rumors began that the iPhone would be delayed due to issues with the new glass. The reasons ranged from the plausible to the more complex, but in the end they did not really matter as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus hit with more mundane surfaces. Apple also announced a wearable that would eventually hit the market with sapphire, but that it would not be ready until 2015. This announcement was a tad unusual for Apple as they normally like to be able to ship something very soon after they announce it.

The lack of sapphire in the iPhone 6 and the missing iWatch was more than GT investors could take though. GT Advanced stock plummeted when their products failed to hit the market and as a result GT Advanced has now filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. This filing does not mean the company will be dissolved, but it gives them protection from certain debts while they are allowed to reorganize to better pay off what they do owe. CEO Tom Gutierrez said “it provides us with the opportunity to continue to execute our business plan on a stronger footing, maintain operations of our diversified business, and improve our balance sheet.”

GT Advanced are also claiming that the lack of Sapphire Glass in the iPhone was not the reason for their filing. Instead they claim that their solar panel business also took a hit over the last few months. Now you can take these two items however you like, but in the end the plummet happened right after the launch of the iPhone so this is likely the chief cause of their troubles. The lack of business for their solar panels might have put them out on a limb, but it was not what pushed them over the edge.

In their current state they are potentially up for grabs and an Apple competitor might be able to jump in and buy them up. It would certainly be interesting to see what would happen if someone like LG or Samsung did this.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 07 October 2014 07:08

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