Tag - GT Advanced
Former Apple manufacturing partner and sapphire crystal furnace manufacturer GT Advanced Technologies may soon be able to emerge from bankruptcy, following the filing of a new plan with the court that would see $60 million in new debt and $20 million in preferred stock put up by lenders early next year -- however, the plan does not include any compensation for shareholders or other investors. Under the proposal, ownership of the company would be transferred to creditors, which may still include Apple.
GT Advanced has made an agreement with Apple over a proposed settlement for how the company will pay off its $439 million debt. The settlement will potentially allow the sapphire glass producer to free itself from the massive debt, by holding an auction later this month and selling off its sapphire glass production equipment, among other items going up for sale.
On Friday, Apple filed an objection in bankruptcy court to a new financing plan brought forward by GT Advanced Technologies, its former partner in sapphire glass production. The new financing report from GT Advanced claims that it has to collect enough insurance money over a fire that damaged the plant Apple owns in May, to cover a $95 million loan agreement for repairs. Apple says that GT Advanced is trying to weasel out of its obligations.
The Apple facility in Mesa, Arizona -- formerly owned by GT Advanced -- had a roof fire earlier today, over a loading dock. The fire is currently contained, and for the moment, appears to have been limited to portions of the roof and solar installation only. Firefighters from three stations were called to fight the fire, which required the evacuation of 12 people from inside the facility.
Apple will be spending $2 billion over the course of 10 years to convert GT Advanced's failed sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona into a datacenter, according to an official announcement. The company claims that the project is "one of the largest" investments it has ever made, and should add over 600 engineering and construction jobs to the area, though the facility will only have 150 permanent workers. It's also promising to use entirely renewable power, "much" of which will come from a future 70MW solar farm it's building.
A committee of bondholders and unsecured creditors for GT Advanced have asked for Apple's senior VP of Operations, Jeff Williams, to be made available for a "short, half-day deposition," according to the Wall Street Journal. The request was made through a Monday filing with the US Bankruptcy Court in New Hampshire. The committee states that "it is clear that Williams played an important, substantial and hands-on role in managing the relationship between GTAT and Apple in connection with the matters that are directly relevant to the Apple settlement motion."
A Louisiana lawfirm, Smith Segura & Raphael, has filed a class action lawsuit against GT Advanced on behalf of investors. The case alleges that GT "failed to disclose the significant risk" it would incur in its sapphire supply deal with Apple, which it announced on November 4 of last year. Apple agreed to pay GT $578 million in four installments, with the expectation the latter would start paying it back in 2015. GT was unable to meet Apple demands though, which resulted in delayed payments, the withholding of the final one, and ultimately GT's bankruptcy on October 6, followed by the company being delisted from the NASDAQ.
As scheduled, the court overseeing GT Advanced's bankruptcy has unsealed more documents regarding the relationship between the sapphire supplier and former client Apple, which it blames for ultimately causing the collapse. In an unedited affidavit from GT COO Daniel Squiller, Apple is accused of using a "bait-and-switch" strategy in which it offered "an onerous and massively one-sided deal" in 2013. He says that Apple originally promised to buy sapphire furnaces for GT and let them operate them, but later demanded a "fundamentally different deal" in which Apple would only lend the furnaces and have no obligation to buy them, nor buy any of the sapphire GT produced.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has opened up an inquiry into potentially suspect share trading at former Apple supplier GT Advanced Technologies. Although the information was only revealed today, the SEC sent a letter to GT on October 15, requesting "certain information regarding trading activity in the Company's securities," plus more data on its sapphire business and securities, dating back to January 1 of last year.
The judge in the bankruptcy case involving GT Advanced Technologies and its chief client Apple ordered more documents unsealed and made public in the proceeding on Tuesday. Both Apple and GT Advanced came to an agreement regarding the papers that waived the confidentiality conditions of the two companies' original contracts, allowing GT Advanced to drop its objections to making the documents public. A statement made by GT Advanced officials detailing the firm's agreement with Apple is among the papers that will be made public.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE