GT Advanced Technologies and Apple reach agreement to end partnership

Sapphire glass manufacturer GT Advanced Technologies has officially announced its settlement with Apple today, ending its partnership with the firm.

As part of the agreement, GT will sell most of its remaining sapphire, along with 2,000 sapphire furnaces, with the majority of the proceeds being used to repay the $439 million loan it received from Apple.

Read more: Apple's sapphire glass supplier GT Advanced Technologies files for bankruptcy

According to Recode, GT's sapphire manufacturing process was not ready for production, but Apple hasn't ruled out working with the firm in the future, if their production techniques improve. GT has also reiterated its intention to continue researching sapphire boules over 165 kilograms.

Apple will consider other ways to utilise GT's production plant in Mesa, Arizona, which the Cupertino-based firm has now acquired. More than 650 employees at the facility have already been laid off, with just a few members of staff remaining until GT shuts down operations at the end of the calendar year.

"Apple put a lot of effort into an ambitious new sapphire manufacturing process with GTAT which is not ready for production. We're going to continue evaluating GTAT's progress on larger sapphire boule development, as well as consider other options for the facility," said an Apple spokeswoman. "We remain committed to the city and we're going to work with Mesa and Maricopa County to help the GT Advanced employees who will be impacted by this find new jobs."

Apple's agreement with GT Advanced Technologies was intended to last several years, but the latter company abruptly filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, with reports suggesting that it had been missing technical milestones since February.

Read more: Apple did plan to use sapphire glass in the iPhone 6

It has also been claimed that Apple originally intended to use sapphire glass for its iPhone 6 display, but had to abandon the idea in favour of Corning's Gorilla Glass, after issues emerged regarding the quality of GT's manufacturing.