Russia's Monocrystal identified as Apple Watch sapphire supplier

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited August 2015
Apple's scratch resistant sapphire supplier for the Apple Watch is reportedly Monocrystal, a Russian firm which has become the largest synthetic sapphire manufacturer in the world.




The company's annual revenue is up to $87 million, and it was one of the only sapphire manufacturers to post an operating profit by the end of 2014, according to Sputnik News. The depreciation of the ruble in the past year -- owing to falling oil prices, and economic sanctions after the invasion of Ukraine -- has made it more economically competitive.

Apple uses Monocrystal's 2-inch sapphire wafers, which account for 40 percent of the latter's output, Sputnik said. Monocrystal is reportedly looking to exploit the low ruble to boost 2-inch production from 4 million units a month to 5 million by the end of the year.

It's not clear how much of Monocrystal's wafer production might be dedicated to Apple, as it serves a number of clients, including other watchmakers.

Apple has also been vague about the number of Watch sales so far, claiming success but choosing not to publish any unit numbers or even break out revenue. Analyst estimates have varied wildly for the June quarter, anywhere between 2 million and 4.2 million.

The company's original sapphire supplier was supposed to be an American firm, GT Advanced Technologies, with which it helped establish a factory in Mesa, Arizona. GT ultimately went bankrupt however, blaming unreasonable demands by Apple, something the latter denied. The aftermath is still being resolved in court.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    Yikes- Innards from China and surfacing from Russia. Countries that love to point nukes at us and invade their neighbours.

    For such a beautiful device it's a pity they can make it more like Tesla does all in house..
  • Reply 2 of 34
    It should be mentioned in the article that Sputnik News is owned and controlled by the Russian government.
  • Reply 3 of 34
    konqerror wrote: »
    It should be mentioned in the article that Sputnik News is owned and controlled by the Russian government.

    Why? You really think there is a difference between government owned companies and private ones?
  • Reply 4 of 34
    Yes in Russia much of the news is directly controlled by the government. The government is also known to post comments on line that conform to their view of any political discussion. This was very apparent on CNN while the invasion of the Ukraine was expanding. Most of those who had pro Putin and Russian comments to post seemed to have problems with basic grammar and usage in their posts.
  • Reply 5 of 34
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by WonkoTheSane View Post





    Why? You really think there is a difference between government owned companies and private ones?

     

    Journalism 101. You need to disclose to the reader potentially biased sources, which means all state media, regardless of the country. Go read some regular news for once.

     

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/23/us-china-markets-finance-idUSKCN0PW1GR20150723

    Quote:

     told state media it had not sold off shares in any listed firm but had transferred shares


     

    http://www.seattlepi.com/news/world/article/Turkish-state-media-8-soldiers-killed-in-6452734.php

    Quote:

      Turkish state media: 8 soldiers killed in roadside bomb attack in southeast Turkey.


     

    http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/business/16054-central-bank-dismisses-rumours-of-bank-run.html

    Quote:

     Deputy governor U Set Aung confirmed this in state-owned paper Kyaymon published yesterday.


     

    http://www.voanews.com/content/memorial-services-held-in-tianjin/2923494.html

    Quote:

     State television CCTV reported that memorial services 


  • Reply 6 of 34
    konqerror wrote: »

    In Russia yiu shouldn't believe any kind of news. I understood that the OP was referring to the supplier being government owned as being relevant. Not the source of the information

    And in Russia you only make business when you're close to Putin. Therefore, it's not really important IMO as there is no distinction in the end between the two.
  • Reply 7 of 34

    I seem to recall there were a bunch of rumors that Apple was going to use sapphire for the iPhone when they bought GT Advanced.

     

    Did anyone ever confirm Apple used Gorilla Glass for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus?

     

    The marketing for the new 6s and 6s Plus could say that the "s" stands for sapphire. Seems unlikely but might be cool if they did use it. 

  • Reply 8 of 34
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Too bad Apple has to rely on countries like China and Russia.

  • Reply 9 of 34
    If Samsung really wanted to show that they don't copy Apple slavishly, they should make their next phone screens Gorilla Glass with diamond coating.
  • Reply 10 of 34
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,476member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TechLover View Post

     

    I seem to recall there were a bunch of rumors that Apple was going to use sapphire for the iPhone when they bought GT Advanced.

     

    Did anyone ever confirm Apple used Gorilla Glass for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus?

     

    The marketing for the new 6s and 6s Plus could say that the "s" stands for sapphire. Seems unlikely but might be cool if they did use it.


    Yes the iphones all still use GG3 today, I am still of the belief that Sapphire was never intended for the phone, it was always for the watch, GT just put the screws to apple which force the delay of the watch to spring of this year I believe it was ready last fall, but with out the sapphire they had to wait, also they probably was going to put it on 100% of the watches, since most all watch over $300 usually have sapphire cystals, at least all the ones I have bought.

  • Reply 11 of 34

    If Samsung really wanted to show that they don't copy Apple slavishly, they should make their next phone screens out of Gorilla Glass with diamond coating.

  • Reply 12 of 34
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member
    techlover wrote: »
    I seem to recall there were a bunch of rumors that Apple was going to use sapphire for the iPhone when they bought GT Advanced.

    Did anyone ever confirm Apple used Gorilla Glass for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus?

    The marketing for the new 6s and 6s Plus could say that the "s" stands for sapphire. Seems unlikely but might be cool if they did use it. 

    Yes, Apple uses Gorilla Glass. It's getting tiring to have to repeat this.
  • Reply 13 of 34
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,476member

    Immagine Walls Street Analysis sniff around Russian companies to get an idea of what Apple is doing. You know all the rumors will be completely crazy, I not sure if Russians know how to tell the true, the stories they come up are far better than the truth. Truth in Russia is boring.

  • Reply 14 of 34
    rwesrwes Posts: 162member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    Too bad Apple has to rely on countries like China and Russia.


     

    If this report is true, it is a bit disappointing (as a US Citizen) that a (US) company (GTAT) which had an opportunity, failed to (or wasn't able to) capitalize on it. I (we) don't know what exactly happened, but it would have been nice to have some manufacturing, especially of more quality components, brought back state side. At least in this area we still have Corning (being US).

     

    At least the CEO is out, but still, a sad turn of events. Oh well...

  • Reply 15 of 34
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,471member
    maestro64 wrote: »
    Yes the iphones all still use GG3 today, I am still of the belief that Sapphire was never intended for the phone, it was always for the watch, GT just put the screws to apple which force the delay of the watch to spring of this year I believe it was ready last fall, but with out the sapphire they had to wait, also they probably was going to put it on 100% of the watches, since most all watch over $300 usually have sapphire cystals, at least all the ones I have bought.

    I can't agree with that. Why the need for 2,250 extra large furnaces to produce the small covers for a watch? Makes no sense. No way that Apple would spend a total of over $750 million for watch sapphire cover production start-up.
  • Reply 16 of 34
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by WonkoTheSane View Post





    Why? You really think there is a difference between government owned companies and private ones?



    Yes.  Journalists who work for state owned media outlets in Russia have a much, much longer life expectancy than those who don't.

  • Reply 17 of 34
    levilevi Posts: 344member
    Why? You really think there is a difference between government owned companies and private ones?

    Yes. It's Russia...
  • Reply 18 of 34

    The sapphire glass on my SS Watch is sensational. Nearly four months of ownership, I've banged it around, yet not even the slightest nick or scratch!

  • Reply 19 of 34
    There is so much misinformation in this article and comments. GT Advanced Technologies was never going to make watch Crystals because they were trying grow sapphire crystal boules over 10 times the size that Russia's Monocrystal is producing. Pulling 2" crystal boules is a technology that has been an established process for over 40 years. The problem GT Advanved encountered was trying to scale up their technology to 20" and never mastered the formula to successfully and consistently pull such large boules. Silicon wafers for Semiconductor production are only available at a max size of 300mm (11.8") so GT was attempting to grow sapphire crystals at almost twice the size of the largest silicon crystal ingots.
    Because of the size GT was attempting to grow was indicative of the final product being earmarked for screens much larger than an Apple Watch.
  • Reply 20 of 34
    GTAT had its chance.
Sign In or Register to comment.