Apple roundup: Sapphire, GPU licensing, Brazilian store, Wal-Mart

|About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)|By:, SA News Editor

A week after uncovering documents suggesting Apple (AAPL) is set to begin sapphire production at its Mesa, AZ facility in February, 9to5 Mac reports manufacturing partner GT Advanced (GTAT) has received delivery of 518 sapphire furnace/chamber systems.

Analyst Matt Margolis estimates that's enough capacity to produce sapphire cover glass for 103M-116M 5" iPhone displays per year. Another 420 systems are said to be on order (good for 84M-94M additional displays). GT Advanced shares are up 4.7% AH.

Apple has extended its multi-year licensing deal with leading GPU core developer Imagination (IGNMF), whose PowerVR cores are found within Apple's A-series processors.

The deal is a blow to ARM (ARMH), which has been hoping Apple would adopt its Mali GPU cores. 400M Mali GPUs were shipped in 2013, up from 150M in 2012.

Apple plans to open its first Brazilian store on Feb. 15 in Rio de Janeiro. The company's sales to Latin America's largest market have been limited by steep taxes and tariffs.

Wal-Mart is once more discounting Apple hardware: The retail giant is selling the 16GB Wi-Fi-only iPad 2 for $299 ($100 below its regular price).