The story of GT Advanced Technologies, a company tapped by Apple to supply the sapphire for upcoming devices, has quickly spiraled out of control. When GT first filed for bankruptcy everyone assumed it was just some run-of-the-mill restructuring. Since then, things have become pretty murky, and on Thursday the company announced plans to cut over 700 jobs at the Arizona plant it opened as part of a deal with Apple.
According to a report from AZCentral, GT layoff 727 employees. Specifically, the company plans to cut “524 production workers, 108 technical positions, 70 management jobs and 25 administrative jobs.” Layoffs will begin this Tuesday and continue through mid-December.
It’s still unclear exactly what went wrong at GT’s Arizona factory, and thanks to Apple’s strict contracts we may never get the full story. Rumor has it planned sapphire display panels for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus simply couldn’t be manufactured in time, though Apple seems as surprised by the bankruptcy news as anyone else. Cupertino previously said it would work to preserve jobs at the Arizona plant, but it looks like the sapphire factory could shut down before Apple can do so.
Apple was also likely counting on GT for the sapphire displays it plans to use in the upcoming Apple Watch, suggesting the wearable could be delayed beyond the early 2015 launch previously promised. At a press event yesterday Apple repeated claims that the device would be available early next year, so for now there’s no reason to believe the smartwatch will be delayed.