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Sapphire production for Apple reportedly underway with 100-furnace trial at Arizona facility

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
GT Advanced Technologies, the sapphire manufacturer with which Apple has a multi-million-dollar deal, reportedly began shipping small quantities of sapphire to one of Apple's manufacturing partners in China last month, gearing up for mass production later this year.



Analyst Stephen Chin of UBS cited his supply chain checks in revealing that GT's Arizona facility apparently started producing sapphire last month, he said in a new note to investors this week, a copy of which was provided to AppleInsider. GT's initial production level was said to be small, utilizing just 100 furnaces that are believed to be turned on and running.

The Arizona facility is expected to ramp up with installation of some 1,500 additional furnaces in the first half of 2014.

Chin estimates that GT shipped only about $1 million worth of sapphire to a China supplier last month. He believes Apple's partner in China will be receiving about $50 million in sapphire materials every month once the Arizona facility is fully operational.

The unnamed partner is believed to be utilizing the limited shipment of materials for scratch-resistant covers found on the iPhone 5s Touch ID home button and rear camera lens cover. Because shipments have been so limited, GT Advanced is said to currently represent a small portion of sapphire suppliers.




Just last week, GT confirmed that it received a third prepayment for Apple for sapphire supply, and Chin estimates that the company will receive its fourth and last prepayment for materials in May.

His checks indicate that sapphire from GT has been sold at a price 25 percent lower than the other sapphire suppliers Apple has largely been relying on. Chin has high hopes for GT Advanced's partnership with Apple, and recommends that investors buy GTAT stock, with a 12-month price target of $22.

AppleInsider was first to report in March that GT Advanced is expanding operations at its Mesa, Ariz., facility, potentially to accommodate higher yields for an as-yet-unknown component. Documents supplied to the U.S. International Trade Administration in January suggested Apple was moving to aggressively ramp production of a "critical" sapphire component by the end of February, and that the material would be shipped outside the U.S. for final assembly.

Sapphire, a crystalline form of aluminum oxide, can also be used to create an advanced virtually unscratchable alternative to silicon dioxide conventional glass. It's a potential alternative to Corning's potassium-enhanced Gorilla Glass, which Apple currently uses in its iPhone screens. Sapphire can be made thinner, and therefore lighter, but has historically also been more expensive.

Apple first began experimenting with manufactured sapphire with the iPhone 5, when it used the material as a cover for the rear-facing camera. With the latest iPhone 5s, Apple's use of sapphire has been extended to a more critical and functional role as cover glass for the Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

In order to secure sapphire supply, Apple inked a $578 million deal with GT Advanced last November. The investment was a prepayment funding the accelerated development of a "next-generation, large capacity" advanced sapphire furnace in Arizona.
post #2 of 34
Seems pointless using this plant to supply sapphire glass parts for 5s when obviously Apple has enough to meet demand from elsewhere already. GT are obviously gearing up to supply sapphire glass screens or parts for iwatch/iphone6 etc. Watch this space!!
post #3 of 34

Is Corning reading this?

post #4 of 34
Quote:
Sapphire, a crystalline form of aluminum oxide, can also be used to create an advanced virtually unscratchable alternative to silicon dioxide conventional glass. 

 

It is also well established as a material for building whale-sized aquariums. Known in some circles as "transparent aluminum", the synthetic sapphire debuted to the mass market in StarTrek4: The Voyage Home, and was schematized on a Macintosh.  Of course.  :)

post #5 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post
 

 

It is also well established as a material for building whale-sized aquariums. Known in some circles as "transparent aluminum", the synthetic sapphire debuted to the mass market in StarTrek4: The Voyage Home, and was schematized on a Macintosh.  Of course.  :)

So... Apple mastered transparent Aluminium too!  

post #6 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AAPLfanboy View Post

Seems pointless using this plant to supply sapphire glass parts for 5s when obviously Apple has enough to meet demand from elsewhere already.

Can you elaborate?

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post #7 of 34
It must be for an iPod touch, not an iPhone. Clearly.

/sarcasm
post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post

It is also well established as a material for building whale-sized aquariums. Known in some circles as "transparent aluminum", the synthetic sapphire debuted to the mass market in StarTrek4: The Voyage Home, and was schematized on a Macintosh.  Of course.  1smile.gif
http://makezine.com/2012/01/17/transparent-aluminum/

The article is from a couple years ago tho so there's been a lot of activity in the space since.
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post #9 of 34
Burn, baby, burn! I'm sure Corning has a some new reasons why Apple is throwing away good money using synthetic sapphire when Corning is ready with Gorilla Glass 3, with GG 4 and GG5 on the horizon. I don't know if Apple will be using sapphire for their displays but there's certainly a world need for man-made sapphire for many other uses. Apple could revolutionize the medical profession with an abundant supply of super-sharp scalpels.
post #10 of 34

Seriously, this is gonna be sweet.

 

Sapphire was always the answer.

post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

Is Corning reading this?

No. Fingers in ears. La la la la la la...
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post #12 of 34

Update on the Samsung-Apple trial...

 

OMG these jurors seem much less informed than the average person. Here are 4 questions they passed to Judge Koh:

 

 
  1. "What did Steve Jobs say at the moment he directed, or decided to prosecute, a case against Samsung? Was Google mentioned, and/or include in that directive, or subsequent directives, to be included in any way in the case?"

  2. "How were the five Apple patents chosen? Were they identified to Apple execs prior tot he decision to pursue patent infringement, or after?"

  3. "How were the two patents chosen by Samsung to be purchased? Who specifically, and initially, recommended that purchase, and what was his/her title?"

  4. "What did the CEO of Samsung say or write, at the moment he first heard about Apple Corp. [sic]" believing Samsung was infringing their intellectual property? What subsequent direction did he give to his team as to how to respond?"

     

http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/04/first-jury-questions-in-apple-v-samsung.html

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post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Update on the Samsung-Apple trial...

OMG these jurors seem much less informed than the average person. Here are 4 questions they passed to Judge Koh:

 


  1. "What did Steve Jobs say at the moment he directed, or decided to prosecute, a case against Samsung? Was Google mentioned, and/or include in that directive, or subsequent directives, to be included in any way in the case?"

  2. "How were the five Apple patents chosen? Were they identified to Apple execs prior tot he decision to pursue patent infringement, or after?"

  3. "How were the two patents chosen by Samsung to be purchased? Who specifically, and initially, recommended that purchase, and what was his/her title?"

  4. "What did the CEO of Samsung say or write, at the moment he first heard about Apple Corp. [sic]" believing Samsung was infringing their intellectual property? What subsequent direction did he give to his team as to how to respond?"
     

http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/04/first-jury-questions-in-apple-v-samsung.html

That sounds about right. A good number people don't know what a patent is or does.
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post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Update on the Samsung-Apple trial...

OMG these jurors seem much less informed than the average person. Here are 4 questions they passed to Judge Koh:

  1. "What did Steve Jobs say at the moment he directed, or decided to prosecute, a case against Samsung? Was Google mentioned, and/or include in that directive, or subsequent directives, to be included in any way in the case?"
  2. "How were the five Apple patents chosen? Were they identified to Apple execs prior tot he decision to pursue patent infringement, or after?"
  3. "How were the two patents chosen by Samsung to be purchased? Who specifically, and initially, recommended that purchase, and what was his/her title?"
  4. "What did the CEO of Samsung say or write, at the moment he first heard about Apple Corp. [sic]" believing Samsung was infringing their intellectual property? What subsequent direction did he give to his team as to how to respond?"
     

http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/04/first-jury-questions-in-apple-v-samsung.html

What's wrong with the questions? They sound reasonable to me.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Update on the Samsung-Apple trial...

OMG these jurors seem much less informed than the average person. Here are 4 questions they passed to Judge Koh:

 


  1. "What did Steve Jobs say at the moment he directed, or decided to prosecute, a case against Samsung? Was Google mentioned, and/or include in that directive, or subsequent directives, to be included in any way in the case?"

  2. "How were the five Apple patents chosen? Were they identified to Apple execs prior tot he decision to pursue patent infringement, or after?"

  3. "How were the two patents chosen by Samsung to be purchased? Who specifically, and initially, recommended that purchase, and what was his/her title?"

  4. "What did the CEO of Samsung say or write, at the moment he first heard about Apple Corp. [sic]" believing Samsung was infringing their intellectual property? What subsequent direction did he give to his team as to how to respond?"
     

http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/04/first-jury-questions-in-apple-v-samsung.html

In effect Judge's Koh's answer is "Deal with it. There's nothing more to give you than what has already been testified to"
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post #16 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


In effect Judge's Koh's answer is "Deal with it. There's nothing more to give you than what has already been testified to"

Shouldve just said- "Just give them 2.2 billion and let me go watch survivor tonight"

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post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


What's wrong with the questions? They sound reasonable to me.

 

Their questions actually have nothing to do with the evidence they were presented. I think they are focusing on what they understand, which is a danger in giving a highly technical case to a jury made of "norms."

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post #18 of 34
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Originally Posted by Andysol View Post
 

Shouldve just said- "Just give them 2.2 billion and let me go watch survivor tonight"

 

That's just about right. People are woefully uninformed about patents and matters of law.

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post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Their questions actually have nothing to do with the evidence they were presented. I think they are focusing on what they understand, which is a danger in giving a highly technical case to a jury made of "norms."

I see those questions as them wanting information that wasn't well presented at the trial but t don't think that means they are not discussing the patents.


edit: typos
Edited by SolipsismX - 4/30/14 at 12:45pm

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #20 of 34
Still not convinced (by rumors) that this is going to be used for large screens. (iPhone, and up?). Simply not enough benefit over existing solutions.
It's a slam-dunk for wearables though.
post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


I see those questions as them having plenty of information that wasn't well presented at the trill but t don't think that means they are not discussing the patents.

 

The people at the courtroom are indicating they believe deliberations will be lengthy.

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post #22 of 34
It looks like the jurors are trying to discuss facts not presented at the case but maybe read about elsewhere. That could be grounds for a mistrial.

On sapphire. I don't see the point. Unless as someone suggest it could be used to all pens or pencils to work as a stylus.
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post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AAPLfanboy View Post

Seems pointless using this plant to supply sapphire glass parts for 5s when obviously Apple has enough to meet demand from elsewhere already. GT are obviously gearing up to supply sapphire glass screens or parts for iwatch/iphone6 etc. Watch this space!!

A 25% price difference would cause most manufactures to run away from current suppliers. So that is reason enough. Given that though I suspect this material is iWatch destined. This method of production doesn't produce the very large crystals that would allow for a large iPhone screen. At least it hasn't in the past, it would be nice to be wrong here.
post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post

It is also well established as a material for building whale-sized aquariums. Known in some circles as "transparent aluminum", the synthetic sapphire debuted to the mass market in StarTrek4: The Voyage Home, and was schematized on a Macintosh.  Of course.  1smile.gif

What is less well known is that at the time they made this movie and plugged in this little reveal was that this technology was closely guarded military tech. It is or was a significant leak at the time. Variants of this material can produce extremely bullet resistant windows.
post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by asdasd View Post

It looks like the jurors are trying to discuss facts not presented at the case but maybe read about elsewhere. That could be grounds for a mistrial.

 

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2004/03/when_can_a_judge_declare_a_mistrial.html

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post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


In effect Judge's Koh's answer is "Deal with it. There's nothing more to give you than what has already been testified to"

 

Correct. I still found their questions to be quite odd.

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post #27 of 34

So, we went way off topic from sapphire glass to Apple Vs Samsung in 1 post.

Is there not a better thread to have posted that "update" in?

post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post
 

Is Corning reading this?

A lot of people realized Corning was talking nonsense when it bashed Apple's efforts with sapphire and responded accurately to it.

 

I am looking forward to reading what Corning says next about the expense of sapphire when compared to Gorilla Glass.

 

A 25% cost reduction for sapphire is a major financial benefit to Apple in the short and long terms.

 

The savings can be funneled for more research into sapphire or another technology.

 

Hmmm... I nearly forgot Wall Street does not believe Apple does research anymore and therefore is no longer innovative!

 

I could not resist that little dig.  :-)))

post #29 of 34
It seems like the amount of sapphire about to be produced is going to be much larger than what would be needed just for iWatch. I could see Apple releasing a 4" iPhone 6 with an updated design and A8, starting at $199 as we would expect, but also release a 4.7" with liquid metal and sapphire starting at $299, and possibly the 5.5" starting at $399. It sounds like a lot, but the pitch would make a lot of sense. All they have to do is show the most popular current sapphire screened phones, for example the ridiculous android Verdu that is priced at $10,000, and do what apple does best, make luxury affordable, "for less than 1/10th the price of the current leading sapphire smartphone." This would also further improve margins and allow Apple to aggressively price the 5c and 6c in developing markets. Seems like a win win scenario for Apple.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post
 
 
A 25% price difference would cause most manufactures to run away from current suppliers. So that is reason enough. Given that though I suspect this material is iWatch destined. This method of production doesn't produce the very large crystals that would allow for a large iPhone screen. At least it hasn't in the past, it would be nice to be wrong here.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post
 

Update on the Samsung-Apple trial...

 

OMG these jurors seem much less informed than the average person. Here are 4 questions they passed to Judge Koh:

 

 
  1. "What did Steve Jobs say at the moment he directed, or decided to prosecute, a case against Samsung? Was Google mentioned, and/or include in that directive, or subsequent directives, to be included in any way in the case?"

  2. "How were the five Apple patents chosen? Were they identified to Apple execs prior tot he decision to pursue patent infringement, or after?"

  3. "How were the two patents chosen by Samsung to be purchased? Who specifically, and initially, recommended that purchase, and what was his/her title?"

  4. "What did the CEO of Samsung say or write, at the moment he first heard about Apple Corp. [sic]" believing Samsung was infringing their intellectual property? What subsequent direction did he give to his team as to how to respond?"

     

http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/04/first-jury-questions-in-apple-v-samsung.html

Wow, that is pretty ridiculous. Shouldn't be a surprise, unfortunately, but it looks like the jury is preparing to make and emotional decision based on "he said, she said" arguments, instead of carefully weighing the arguments in an intellectual and objective fashion. I don't know how there could be any debating going on when samsung basically produced a manual on how to copy Apple.. it couldn't be more obvious!

   

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post #30 of 34
Dudes! Corning has already said how unimpressed they are by sapphire. "We produce glass that's just as good or even better," Corning spokesperson Clarity VansParent said two months ago, "And it's available now!"
post #31 of 34
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

 

  1. "What did Steve Jobs say at the moment he directed, or decided to prosecute, a case against Samsung? Was Google mentioned, and/or include in that directive, or subsequent directives, to be included in any way in the case?"

  2. "How were the five Apple patents chosen? Were they identified to Apple execs prior tot he decision to pursue patent infringement, or after?"

  3. "How were the two patents chosen by Samsung to be purchased? Who specifically, and initially, recommended that purchase, and what was his/her title?"

  4. "What did the CEO of Samsung say or write, at the moment he first heard about Apple Corp. [sic]" believing Samsung was infringing their intellectual property? What subsequent direction did he give to his team as to how to respond?"

 

1. The lawsuit is about Samsung. Ignore everything but Samsung. Unless, of course, you want to know about Google to give Apple carte blanche to sue THEM later with a precedent.

2. HOW STUPID CAN YOU POSSIBLY BE. KOH ILLEGALLY LIMITED APPLE’S FILING. THAT’S WHY THESE WERE CHOSEN.

3. They were patents that matched what Apple was doing, and for no other reason.

4. “Alert my mafia contacts. Tell them to make Apple… ‘unemployed', if you know what I mean. Get it? Without ‘Jobs'? Huh? I thought it was a good one.”

Originally posted by Marvin

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post #32 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

1. The lawsuit is about Samsung. Ignore everything but Samsung. Unless, of course, you want to know about Google to give Apple carte blanche to sue THEM later with a precedent.

2. HOW STUPID CAN YOU POSSIBLY BE. KOH ILLEGALLY LIMITED APPLE’S FILING. THAT’S WHY THESE WERE CHOSEN.

3. They were patents that matched what Apple was doing, and for no other reason.

4. “Alert my mafia contacts. Tell them to make Apple… ‘unemployed', if you know what I mean. Get it? Without ‘Jobs'? Huh? I thought it was a good one.”

 

Yeah... This is turning into one wacky trial.

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post #33 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AAPLfanboy View Post

Seems pointless using this plant to supply sapphire glass parts for 5s when obviously Apple has enough to meet demand from elsewhere already. GT are obviously gearing up to supply sapphire glass screens or parts for iwatch/iphone6 etc. Watch this space!!

Perhaps it's camera lenses.

I keep getting the feeling Apple haven't finished with the camera industry. 4K is about to become the standard in video over the next few years and Apple so far have not moved into that space. Massive sensors allow for huge digital zooms without pixel doubling but require very high quality optics.
Edited by digitalclips - 5/1/14 at 6:14am
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post #34 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


Perhaps it's camera lenses.
 

 

That much sapphire, and that many ovens for just lenses? I seriously doubt that.  It's the screen.  Either this iPhone or the next.  And shortly thereafter the iPhone Mini and moving up after that.

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