Apple might finally be able to cut ties with its bankrupt sapphire screen supplier, GT Advanced Technologies, after the pair reached a deal wiping out a $439 million loan from Apple.
Some may remember the debacle that stems back to 2014. GT were believed to be producing sapphire glass, for the iPhone 6. However, when the device arrived without it, it was clear something was wrong.
Just over a year ago, GTAT filed for bankruptcy, and their cash level at the time was so low it meant Apple couldn’t contractually reclaim the $439 million they’d handed over to get Sapphire production up and running at GT’s Arizona plant.
Sapphire glass is a material meant to be much stronger than the Apple screen’s Gorilla glass, and already in use on the Touch ID and iSight camera.
Despite that plant costing a reported $1 million a day to run, GT said they were still in business and planned to produce glass for the Apple Watch. Despite this, GT accused Apple of shifting specs of the components, and were forcing it to manufacture millions of devices that Apple wasn’t obligated to purchase. From the other side, Apple said GT wasn’t up to the job. However, since then, the dispute went quiet.
In the meantime the pair reached a deal: in return for Apple clearing the entire debt, GT has to auction off equipment it presumably no longer needs for reduced levels of production. According to the Wall Street Journal, this includes around 600 sapphire-making furnaces. After a November 23 deadline, anything left over goes directly to Apple.
All’s well that ends well, right?