Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Sapphire Maker for Apple, GT Advanced Technologies, Declares Bankruptcy

GT, the developer of a new way to make thin sheets of sapphire for scratch-resistant displays, is running short on cash.
October 6, 2014

GT Advanced Technologies announced today that it had declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  The company has been in the news because it has a contract to supply sapphire to Apple, and we’ve been following some of the company’s next-generation sapphire technology (see “Cheap, Scratch-Resistant Displays”).

Investors had been hoping that the sapphire would be used for Apple’s iPhone 6, which would have meant a big rush of revenue this year for GT. But instead, it seems that the sapphire is intended for the Apple Watch, which isn’t coming out until next year some time, and no one knows how well it will sell.

We’ve followed GT because it developed a novel technology for making large, ultrathin sapphire sheets—big enough for smartphones and tablets. You would just laminate the sheet to a piece of glass, giving you the scratch resistance of sapphire at low cost.

It’s not clear yet how the bankruptcy will affect the development and roll-out of the new technology. The company says the filing does not mean that it is going out of business. It’s low on cash—down to $85 million as of September 29. It plans to take advantage of provisions of bankruptcy law to raise money to keep operating, as GM did in 2009. It’s common for companies to continue operating under bankruptcy.

GT may just need a little help to survive until more proceeds start rolling in from Apple. But of course, no one knows how well the Apple Watches will sell.

GT’s fate may also be tied to the solar industry. GT supplies furnaces for making the crystalline silicon used in solar cells. In the last few years, the company has faced hard times as the solar industry stopped building factories and buying GT’s equipment. Analysts believe the solar industry will start building again in the next year or two, but no one knows if it will buy furnaces from GT, or go with different suppliers.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

images created by Google Imagen
images created by Google Imagen

The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images

Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.

AGI is just chatter for now concept
AGI is just chatter for now concept

The hype around DeepMind’s new AI model misses what’s actually cool about it

Some worry that the chatter about these tools is doing the whole field a disservice.

Hoan Ton-That, CEO of Clearview AI
Hoan Ton-That, CEO of Clearview AI

The walls are closing in on Clearview AI

The controversial face recognition company was just fined $10 million for scraping UK faces from the web. That might not be the end of it.

spaceman on a horse generated by DALL-E
spaceman on a horse generated by DALL-E

This horse-riding astronaut is a milestone in AI’s journey to make sense of the world

OpenAI’s latest picture-making AI is amazing—but raises questions about what we mean by intelligence.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.