Apple is working hard on using Sapphire glass for the iPhone’s touch screen.
GT Advanced Technology, in a partnership with Apple since 2013, tried to increase capacities and reduce costs with the application of an Ion Accelerator, a smaller brother of a gigantic machine, working in Switzerland at CERN, deep in the earth. It’s the largest particle physics laboratory in the world.
CERN has accelerators for the smallest particles physicists ever discovered. Established in 1954 near Geneva, CERN operates a Large Hadron Collider located 100 m under the Earth’s surface and using a 27 km circular tunnel to let small objects fly nearly with the speed of light.
What the heck is the connection between GT Advanced, CERN, and Apple?
Well, here is the story …
The World Wide Web began as a CERN project called ENQUIRE, initiated by Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. Berners-Lee, a British scientist working at CERN, used a NeXT computer as the first web server in history.
The image shows this computer with the important sticker ‘Do not power down.’.
You heard about this company?
Well, the NeXT Computer was a computer developed, manufactured, and sold by NeXT Inc., Fremont, California, a company founded by Steve Jobs and several other veterans of the Macintosh and Lisa teams, from 1988 until 1990. It ran the Mach- and BSD-derived, Unix-based NeXTSTEP operating system, with a unique GUI using a Display PostScript-based back end. The motherboard is square and fit into one of four identical slots in the enclosure. The NeXT Computer enclosure consisted of a 1-foot (305 mm) die-cast magnesium cube-shaped, black case, which led to the machine being informally referred to as “The Cube”. It cost $6,500.
So connecting the dots in this case means to connect communication between scientists at CERN, Steve Jobs NeXT computer, the atom smasher in Switzerland, and the far smaller brother in Mesa, Arizona, at GT Advanced Inc. which hopefully delivers Sapphire glass touch screens for future iPhones.
This all is a shining example of human teamwork and a message to all the fanboys of both sides, Google and Apple, to always keep in mind that nobody can claim to be the only one inventing things. Invention and innovation is always closely connected with a long history of preceding scintillations. It’s the task of businesses like Apple or others to use the results of research activities for developing products which delight people and enrich their lives.
The GT Advanced Technology story …
I wrote this article in September 2013 not knowing what happened with GTAT. So here is the story beginning in October 2013.
TUAW Oct 10, 2014
Re/Code is reporting that GT Advanced Technologies, the company Apple tapped to begin looking into making device screens from synthetic sapphire, is requesting court permission to close its plant in Arizona.
This comes days after the surprise announcement that GT had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In its filing, GT noted that it had not been able to meet certain manufacturing operation and quality control metrics, causing Apple to withhold a US$139 million loan installment coming due in October.
A total of $578 million had been floated by Apple to help GT build the new plant, and the stalled payment put the company into a untenable financial situation.
Apple spokespersons have reiterated that the company will do all it can to save jobs in Arizona. Whether this means Apple will bail out GT or even purchase the plant itself is unknown.
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