Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Big Push: A new production facility in Mesa, Arizona, is slated to produce a “critical subcomponent” for Apple (AAPL), AppleInsider notes. The factory is part of a joint venture between the iPhone-maker and GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) to develop sapphire components. Documents filed with the U.S. Foreign Trade Zone Board indicate that Apple and GT Advanced Technologies are moving to open the plant by the end of next month. The iPhone already uses sapphire coverings — which are consider more scratch-resistant than glass — in the flagship iPhone’s Touch ID home button and camera. Recent rumors indicate that Apple is might dump Corning’s (GWL) Gorilla Glass in favor of a sapphire covering for the next-generation iPhone display. Foxconn, Apple’s major iPhone supply partner, has reportedly produced a number of sapphire-covered iPhone prototypes. In the documents, Apple and GT Advanced Technologies indicated that the Mesa facility will be producing an unspecified “new” sapphire component for Apple.
Obituary: Rumors that Apple will eliminate the struggling iPhone 5c are growing stronger, USA TODAY notes. Reports that Apple would drop the colorful plastic-backed iPhone surfaced earlier this week after Apple released fiscal first quarter results and CEO Tim Cook said that the company had misjudged demand for the iPhone 5c. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says that consumers were not very interested in the iPhone 5c, which is essentially the iPhone 5 in a different casing. He argues that Apple will keep producing the iPhone 5c, but will cut the phone’s price as a way boost sales volumes. Other analysts expect the iPhone 5c to disappear altogether. Jeffries analyst Peter Misek contends that Apple doesn’t want to offer a truly cheap iPhone and will simply cancel the iPhone 5c when it launches a new flagship iPhone later this year. A survey by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) found that the iPhone 5c made up just 27% of iPhones sold during the holiday shopping season, compared to 59% for the iPhone 5s. Apple launched the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in September.
Honoured: Apple’s incoming Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores will be getting a prestigious award from Great Britain, Vogue notes. Angela Ahrendts was recruited away from Burberry (BURBY), where she has served as CEO since 2006, to join the iPhone maker in October, though she won’t start at the tech giant until this spring. Ahrendts will be named as a Dame of the British Empire in the next several weeks. Since Ahrendts isn’t a British citizen, she won’t receive the award from a member of the royal family. Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates, is another prominent American named to receive the award this year.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.