Report claims Russian sapphire producer one of few to make operating profit
Following the issues at GT Advanced, one of Apple's producers of sapphire glass for the Apple Watch has been identified as a Russian company called Monocrystal, according to a report. The synthetic sapphire producer is claimed to be a supplier to Apple, providing two-inch sapphire wafers specifically for the wearable device, and is believed to be one of the few sapphire glass producers making an operating profit by the end of 2014, with Monocrystal bringing in $87 million in annual revenue.
Shareholders also suspicious of new moves that could foreclose on furnaces
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 timepiece looks like a traditional wristwatch
Huawei has introduced its flagship Android Wear device, simply known as the Watch. The company has called on traditional timepiece designers to help with industrial design. The result resembles a typical wristwatch, until the display flips from a clock face to an app interface.
Gorilla Glass maker moves to compete against sapphire
Corning is working on a version of its toughened glass, used in a large number of tablets and smartphones, that can compete with sapphire. The glass manufacturer's Project Phire, announced on Friday, aims to make a glass that can combine the same drop protection that Gorilla Glass is known for with sapphire-level resistance to scratches, a weakness of currently-produced Gorilla Glass.
Claims it needs millions to retain 'key' employees; Apple, debtors likely to oppose
In a move sure to be opposed by the myriad companies it owes money to, former Apple sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies is currently asking a bankruptcy court judge for permission to hand out over two million dollars in "executive bonuses" designed to help motivate and retain "key" employees -- largely the same group of senior executives who ran the company into the ground. In total, the company expects to apply for nearly $6 million in total bonuses and incentives to various levels of employees.
Apple will get a little less, other creditors more in revised agreement
The judge in the New Hampshire-based bankruptcy court overseeing the legal wrangle between Apple and its former sapphire production partner GT Advanced Technologies has signed off on a revised agreement between the two companies that is intended to stave off additional court proceedings that could tie up the matter for years, from creditors who were concerned that Apple was getting paid first. The new deal doesn't change the fundamental tenets of the agreement, but allows other creditors more funds from the first sales of GT Advance's furnaces.
Lack of production experience, ineffective leadership to blame for bust-up, Apple says
More details on the collapse of the GT Advanced Technologies deal with Apple were made available today, as sources have reported that a letter sent by Apple to other creditors in the GT Advanced bankruptcy case reveals more details on why the partnership collapsed. Included in the letter were pictures of defective sapphire boules produced by GT Advanced, pointed to by Apple as the main reason the company went under -- it contracted to produce high-quality boules of the material, but simply couldn't produce enough usable product.
If approved, GT will sell sapphire furnaces to pay back Apple loan
After much bickering in court during bankruptcy proceedings that took Apple and Wall Street by surprise, former sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies has worked out an agreement with the iPhone maker that will let it pursue its plan of winding down operations at its Mesa, Arizona plant and laying off nearly 700 employees. Though Apple had initially said it would work to preserve the jobs involved, the deal instead offers incentives to certain employees to help wind down the plant, and provides a way for GT to pay back the money it owes Apple.
LG G Watch R will have October release, cost more than G Watch
The LG G Watch R, the round-faced sequel to the G Watch, will be shipping in October, the company has revealed. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, a spokesperson declined to state how much exactly the Plastic OLED-based Android Wear device will cost when it goes on sale next month, but did advise it would be more expensive than the $230 price the original launched with.
Production kicks into gear according to quarterly report, talks Apple payments
Apple's source for sapphire in Mesa, Arizona announced that its factory would be completing a conversion for "volume production" for its production machines shortly. GT Advanced Technologies announced the shift in their quarterly results, stating that the construction for the facility would be completed soon. Apple partnered with GT Advanced Technologies in November, investing in the company's expansion, which would in turn grant Apple exclusive supply rights.
Rugged Kyocera Brigadier has sapphire glass display, dust and water resistance
Verizon has quietly launched two smartphones on its network, with both available to buy today. The LG G Vista is a previously-rumored 5.7-inch smartphone with a qHD resolution, while the Kyocera Brigadier is a ruggedized smartphone with a 4.5-inch 720p display, a screen which is unusually protected by a front panel made from sapphire glass.
New rumors from Chinese trade paper focus on sapphire, production locations
Some new chatter has emerged regarding possible Apple product launches. Claims are circulating that Apple's new 4.7-inch device will continue to use Gorilla Glass and eschew sapphire crystal. Also rumored, the 5.5-inch model with the sapphire screen is seeing production problems from low yield of acceptable screens, and is likely to have constrained supply through 2014.
Korean media claims sapphire glass samples sent for testing, evaluation
Samsung and LG are reportedly considering the possibility of incorporating sapphire glass into their future products. Both companies have allegedly contacted sapphire glass producers for samples, which could potentially lead to each releasing smartphones and tablets protected by the material, something that Apple already uses to protect the camera lens and Touch ID sensor on the iPhone 5s, and could use on the next iteration of the iPhone.
Rumors include June startup date, possible expansion plans
Photos and reports from tipsters indicate that Apple's forthcoming sapphire manufacturing plant may already be partially online as construction crews race to finish the building for a targeted June completion date. The building, which is very nondescript in appearance, is located in Mesa, Arizona and was built in a partnership with GT Advanced Technologies, the inventors of a process to manufacture nearly scratch-proof sapphire glass in larger quantities and at lower cost than had previously been available.
Bought up 'entire three-year supply' of 4.5-inch super-tough material
Ubuntu developer Canonical has told investors and analysts in a conference call that part of the reason it had been unable to produce a planned 4.5-inch smartphone running the Linux-based OS was because (in addition to financial issues) Apple had "scooped up" the entire three-year supply" of sapphire screens the company had planned to use. While not a confirmation that Apple plans to create a 4.5-inch display in a future iPhone, the quote seems to reaffirm that Apple is planning to incorporate the practically-unscratchable material in its future products.
Patent outlines manufacturing and growing process
Along with the patent awarded for the ejectable component assembly last week, the United States Patent & Trademark Office also granted Apple a patent for manufacturing sapphire windows, which had originally been submitted in July 2012. The patent gives credence to the reports of all-sapphire glass displays used on the new iPhone prototypes, as well as the company pushing to open a US sapphire manufacturing plant in Arizona this year.
Speculation rises on document describing 'critical new sub-component'
While it was previously known that Apple was working on a new sapphire crystal manufacturing partnership in Mesa, Arizona in partnership with GT Advanced Technologies, thus far few details have emerged on what exactly Apple plans to do with the sapphire glass to be created by the plant. According to recently-published correspondence between Apple and Arizona regulators, the iPhone maker hopes to open the facility as early as next month.
Half-billion dollar agreement with GT Advanced Technologies
Apple is investing in GT Advanced Technologies, a company that produces advanced sapphire material. Following an announcement of the Apple investment by Governor Jan Brewer, details revealed that the iPhone maker has signed a multi-year, $578 million contract in the state that will help fund a "next-generation, large-capacity" Advanced Sapphire Furnace intended to lower the cost to create advanced sapphire-based material.
Claims framerate boosts as much as 200 percent or more
Component maker Sapphire has officially launched the Mac Edition of its Radeon HD 7950 video card. The add-on includes 3GB of GDDR5 memory, and is said to boost game framerates by as much as 200 percent or more, and general benchmark performance by about 30 percent. Graphics-heavy benchmarks are claimed to run up to 300 percent faster than possible with the NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT.
AMD Radeon HD 7950 targets more common gamers
AMD has hoped to corner the more widely accessible range of high-end video cards Tuesday by unveiling the Radeon HD 7950. It trims back slightly from the range-leading 7970 with 1,792 visual processing cores instead of 2,048, 112 texture units instead of 128, and both 800MHz core and 1.25GHz memory clock speeds versus the 925MHz and 1.38GHz of its counterpart. The chipset is still powerful enough to handle 4K video and carries the 384-bit memory bus and 3GB of video RAM.
Sapphire 4GB 5970 would have custom cooling
Graphics hardware's Sapphire at CeBIT has shown one of the first ultra high-end versions of the Radeon HD 5970 in a bid to have the fastest video cards in the world. The special model will double the amount of onboard memory to a record 4GB and will carry a custom, three-slot fan and heatsink cooling system. Although thick, the design would let Sapphire factory overclock the 5970's memory from 1GHz to 1.2GHz.
ATI fills out Radeon HD 5000 with efficient card
AMD this morning launched its second new video chipset in just a matter of days and this time targeted a comparatively untapped mini PC category. The Radeon HD 5570 is a major step up in performance from the 5450 with 400 stream processors versus 80 but still occupies a single card slot and is relatively short, making it ideal for small form factor cases where even the 5600 series would be too large or use too much power.
AMD Radeon HD 4550 4350
AMD early Tuesday took its Radeon HD 4000-series chipsets into ultra budget territory with two video cards that promise better performance than their prices would suggest. The Radeon HD 4550 and Radeon HD 4350 have just 80 stream (effects) processors versus as much as 800 for the Radeon 4800 series but are still capable of full DirectX 10.1 and current OpenGL 2.x effects, rendering them some of the least expensive cards capable of their more advanced visuals. The new chipsets are also some of the only ones of their type to have 7.1-channel audio pass-through over HDMI and the option of DisplayPort.
Radeon HD 4870 X2 in July
AMD is preparing a dual-chip version of its Radeon HD 4870 card within a matter of weeks, say board designers. The 4870 X2 would be a direct sequel to the 3870 X2 and would once again graft two high-end graphics processors on to one card with a similarly doubled amount of memory; the 4870 edition would be the first home card to carry 2GB of total memory. Past cards have also been underclocked slightly from the single-chip version to avoid overheating.
AMD Water Cooled 4870
AMD is gearing up for the launch of a special Radeon HD 4800 card designed explicitly to push past the GeForce GTX 280 in sheer performance, according to a new leak. The unnamed hardware would use the extra energy headroom of the card along with a custom water cooling system to clock the card well above the company's best individual card, the 4870: the core would reach 950MHz or more, while the video memory would be pushed to a 1.2GHz actual speed.