Former sapphire supplier will keep control of Mesa assets
(Updated with Apple response, hints at future initiatives) GT has confirmed its split with Apple via a press release, offering further details on the terms. "GT will be released from all exclusivity obligations under its various agreements with Apple," the statement explains. "GT will retain ownership of all production, ancillary and inventory assets located in Mesa [Arizona] and Apple is provided with a mechanism for recovering its $439 million pre-payment made to GT over a period of up to four years without interest, solely from a portion of the proceeds from ASF sales.
Could hit local area hard
GT Advanced plans to lay off 727 workers at its sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona, according to a mandatory Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification issued to the Mesa City Council. Affected people are said to include 524 in production, 108 in technical jobs, 70 in management, and 25 in administration. The move comes as GT is planning to "wind down" the Mesa plant, and despite Apple's promise that it would try to preserve jobs.
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.
Expansion thought to be geared toward increasing yields
Even though the core facility still isn't finished, Apple and GT Advanced are already planning to expand their sapphire factory in Mesa, Arizona, AppleInsider reports. The site claims that several companies have already stepped up with bids for the expansion. The plant and its grounds currently occupy 83 acres; the expansion may grow into land directly behind it, which records show are vacant and more than large enough to support a bigger complex.
Company owns facility in AZ for future sapphire-making plant
Apple, which owns a manufacturing facility in Arizona to be used in the future for a key component-making factory, has voiced its opposition to the "turn away the gay" bill that has passed the Arizona legislature. The state -- long known for its inflammatory laws and actions against minorities -- passed a measure late last week that would legalize discrimination against gay people, provided the person or business owners had "strong religious views."
New solar and geothermal power projects underway
Both the city of Mesa and the state of Arizona acted aggressively to lure Apple and GT Advanced Technologies into building their sapphire plant in the Mesa area, according to a new Bloomberg report. The publication notes that since Arizona lost out on an Apple operations center that ended up in Austin, Texas, local government was eager to make concessions in order to attract the company's jobs and business. Apple is said to have received a $10 million grant from the state to support hiring and building improvements, as well a special designation for its land, slashing the company's property taxes by over 70 percent.
Apple continues publicity tour
Apple CEO Tim Cook was joined by fellow executives Craig Federighi (head of Software Engineering) and Bud Tribble (VP of Software Technology) during an ABC News interview set to air later tonight, but teased this morning during Good Morning America. While the occasion was nominally the 30th anniversary of the Mac, Cook was asked about topics like the manufacturing of the Mac Pro in Austin, Texas. He suggested the company could "do more" on that account, which led to discussion of its contracted sapphire glass plant in Mesa, Arizona.
Apple threatened to move project elsewhere without foreign trade zone
Arizona's Gilbert Unified School District has voted unanimously to allow the extension of a foreign trade zone at a nearby airport to a proposed Apple sapphire plant, reports say. The decision clears the last of eight local regulatory hurdles for the purchase and conversion of a former First Solar complex. The overhauled facility will actually be operated by GT Advanced Technologies, but GT is expected to provide most of its sapphire to Apple, who will compensate for $578 million in capital expenditures over the course of five years.
Expansion mostly limited to minor towns
Sprint has expanded its LTE 4G coverage to 28 more towns in the US, according an announcement. The new locations are spread out across Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Missouri, Mississippi, Minnesota, Washington, Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas, and Massachusetts. Most of them are relatively minor; some notable names include Branson, Missouri, and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
New campus could take city, county, state money
An Apple official today answered questions in front of Austin City Council in an attempt to secure funding for its expanded presence in the city. The Council is offering to pay $8.6 million in incentives over 10 years if Apple meets job and investment targets. Apple may also receive $21 million from the state-level Texas Enterprise Fund, and still more cash from Travis County, although county officials are believed to be waiting until after a City Council vote to say what it might contribute.
Taxi driver takes fire after pursuit
Three people have been arrested following a robbery of the Scottsdale Quarter Apple Store in Arizona, reports say. In the early hours of January 2nd, the thieves smashed through the glass front door of the building, and proceeded to take about $75,000 in iPads, iPods, and MacBook Airs. A passing driver noticed the incident, though, and started following the thieves as they drove down Scottsdale Road around 2AM.
Details of incident kept quiet
A former Apple Store Genius and a group called the Apple Retail Workers Union are reaching out to top-level Apple executives following a firing at the Arrowhead outlet in Glendale, Arizona. Neither party is going into many details about the incident, but the ARWU claims in a press release that the Genius -- who has elsewhere identified himself as Chad Ramey -- "was bullied by management to quit or be fired after a simple misunderstanding." The activist group adds that "Rather than let tempers settle the employee was cornered in the managers office and asked a coworker to be present, who then witnessed a confrontation that should never have been allowed to escalate as far as it did."
Internal documents posted for review
Hacking collective LulzSec has continued to keep up a swift pace in its hacking endeavors, today announcing that it has released hundreds of documents from Arizona law enforcement e-mail systems. The documents are claimed to include personal correspondence, private intelligence bulletins, training manuals, and other information, some of which is classified as sensitive and not intended for public disclosure.
iOS time issues still unfixed
A number of iPhones did not properly transition to daylight savings time over the weekend, according to complaints. Like Mac OS or Windows, iOS normally advances an hour automatically during the DST changeover. In some cases however people say that their iPhones flipped an hour behind, or even an hour further ahead than the right time. In Arizona, for instance, an hour may have been tacked on despite the state not obeying DST.
Plan divulged during Obama's Intel tour
Intel CEO Paul Otellini has announced plans to construct a new factory in Arizona, a move that is expected to cost the company over $5 billion in investment. The expansion strategy, which was divulged during Obama's tour of Intel's research and manufacturing facilities in Portland, will be part of a larger plan that also involves adding 4,000 new employees this year.
Part of national trend
The New York City public school system has ordered over 2,000 iPads, the New York Times reveals. The total cost of the arrangement is valued at $1.3 million. As an example of the distribution, 300 of the tablets are reported to have gone to Kingsbridge International High School, located in the Bronx. The Times suggests that the number is "enough for all 23 teachers and half of the students to use at the same time."
New Apple Store design
Apple's new Scottsdale Quarter retail store uses a radically different design in some respects, observers note. Ceilings in the building are approximately 20 feet high, and lined with a 75-foot long skylight, reducing dependence on artificial lighting. Aiding the skylight is an all-glass front and rear, permitting visitors to see directly through the store.
Scottsdale Apple Store
Apple has announced that its newest Apple Store, situated in Scottsdale, Arizona, will be opening at 6PM this Friday. The outlet will be Arizona's largest Apple Store, occupying nearly 10,000 square feet of the Outdoor Lifestyle Center in the Scottsdale Quarter. Store hours will be 10AM to 9PM Monday through Saturday, and 12PM to 6PM on Sundays.
UK, Ariz., Wash. stores
Information has been disclosed on three new Apple Stores, beginning with one in the British capital of London. Apple has announced an October 30th, 9PM opening for its White City store, located in Westfield London on Ariel Way. The first 1,000 people there will receive a free t-shirt, and Apple is attempting to lure in more customers with the chance of winning a new MacBook and a silver iPod nano. The shop is Apple's 20th location in the UK.