GT Advanced Technologies produces the sapphire material already used in the iPhone 5 and 5S, but Apple’s plans for the material seem to be much bigger
Apple Balla reports that the contract between Apple and GT is for the production of sapphire-based materials at Apple's new facility in Arizona. Apple will prepay GT $578 million, and GT will repay Apple during the next five years.
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The deal is huge for GT, which will go from $28.9 million in revenues to the expected $800 million, mainly based on the sapphire material new job. That will make Apple GT’s biggest client. The contract with Apple also means that GT will make big changes in its business model, which will apparently in the future evolve mostly around sapphire.
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The question is: what is Apple planning to do with all that sapphire? The material is currently used for fingerprint-recognition buttons and as iPhone 5's rear lens protection. According to the rumors, Apple is planning to replace Gorilla Glass with sapphire for the touchscreens of its future devices. Sapphire might show up in the future iWatch, or in some Apple’s totally new gadget.