Apple Looking to Take Arizona Sapphire Plant Live in February for 'Critical' Component

Apple is aggressively pursuing the launch of its new sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona for a "critical new sub-component", according to documents obtained by 9to5Mac. The company is aiming to open the plant by February.

sapphire_furnaces

Furnaces for sapphire glass production.

The documents reveal that James J. Patton, Apple's Deputy Director of Global Trade Compliance, requested expedited approval from the Foreign-Trade Zone Board to approve two requests that would allow Apple to meet its "aggressive go-live timeline" for February 2014. Recently, both Apple and manufacturing partner, GT Advanced, have been recruiting potential employees for the sapphire plant.

In addition, the documents indicate the sapphire plant would be used to create a "critical new sub-component" for use in Apple's consumer electronics. Apple currently uses sapphire glass to protect the iPhones' camera lenses and the iPhone 5s' Touch ID home button, but Apple's language in the documents suggests something more could be in the works.

Project Cascade will conduct high-tech manufacturing of intermediate goods/components for consumer electronics. All finished components will be exported. This high-tech manufacturing process will create a critical new sub-component of Apple Products to be used in the manufacture of the consumer electronics that will be imported and then sold globally. By pulling this process into the U.S., Apple will be using cutting edge, new technology to enhance and improve the consumer products, making them best in class per product type.

While it's not clear what a "new" sub-component could be, Apple could be looking to create full-screen displays made out of sapphire. Sapphire could also be used to protect the display on Apple's much-rumored iWatch.

The report also includes information on some of the other materials that will be utilized in the plant, like diamond cutting wire, which as 9to5Mac points out, is currently used in iPhone and iPad assembly to create bezels.

Just a couple days ago, Taiwan's Apple Daily reported the company's assembly partner Foxconn had begun an initial 100 unit run of an iPhone with a sapphire glass display. Last week, an Apple patent application for an Apple device with a sapphire glass display was also discovered.

Sapphire has been seen as a potential successor to high-strength glass for display covers, although Corning claims Gorilla Glass 3 is stronger than sapphire glass at a lower cost. Apple has reportedly experimented with sapphire glass displays before, but found them infeasible. It is possible, however, that advances in material and production technology have allowed the company to revisit the possibility.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
88 months ago

Whatever this new sub-component might be, I think it's safe to assume it will create another bottleneck in the supply chain. My understanding is that producing sapphire is a complex, slow and expensive process.

----------



Corning claimed some time ago that Gorilla Glass has better scratch resistance, unless they are worried about sapphire killing their business. I don't think Apple will go backwards with an inferior product...

----------

Also, let me make it clear that I would much rather prefer Apple use diamond instead of sapphire on my devises. :D


It is not even close. Sand will easily scratch Gorilla Glass. Sapphire? Not even if it wanted to.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
88 months ago
Whatever this new sub-component might be, I think it's safe to assume it will create another bottleneck in the supply chain. My understanding is that producing sapphire is a complex, slow and expensive process.

----------

Gorilla Glass is stronger, But which is more scratch resistant?


Corning claimed some time ago that Gorilla Glass has better scratch resistance, unless they are worried about sapphire killing their business. I don't think Apple will go backwards with an inferior product...

----------

Also, let me make it clear that I would much rather prefer Apple use diamond instead of sapphire on my devises. :D
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
88 months ago

Apple will be using cutting edge, new technology


Cutting-edge. I see what you did there. :D
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
88 months ago
That photo reminds me of the Breaking Bad's lab. The one under the laundromat.:rolleyes:
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
88 months ago

That photo reminds me of the Breaking Bad's lab. The one under the laundromat.:rolleyes:

Like this one?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
88 months ago
iPhone 6 will improve battery life by inscribing solar cells in Sapphire glass-coated screens? I hope newer iPhone's battery life is longer than 10 hours

http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonykosner/2014/01/26/will-iphone-6-improve-battery-life-by-inscribing-solar-cells-in-sapphire-glass-coated-screens/
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

First iPhone 12 Mini Hands-On Video Surfaces [Update: Video Pulled]

Wednesday October 28, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max aren't set to be available until November 13, but a Romanian YouTuber got his hands on the iPhone 12 mini and showed it off today, offering a size comparison between the iPhone 12 and the 12 mini along with going over some of the device's features. The iPhone 12 mini is identical to the iPhone 12 in design and functionality, but it has a...

Apple References Unreleased 2020 16-Inch MacBook Pro in Boot Camp Update

Monday October 26, 2020 8:42 am PDT by
Last week, Apple released an update for Boot Camp, its utility for running Windows on a Mac. While this update would typically be unremarkable, several of our readers noticed that the release notes reference an unreleased 2020 model of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. While this could easily be a mistake, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is nearly a year old, so it is certainly a worthy candidate for a...

After Mocking Apple, Samsung May Remove Power Adapter From Galaxy S21 Box

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:29 pm PDT by
Samsung's Galaxy S21, coming in 2021, may not include a power adapter or headphones in the box, according to reports from Korean media sites highlighted by SamMobile. Rumors earlier this year also said that Samsung was considering removing these accessories from future smartphone models, but that didn't stop Samsung from mocking Apple for selling the iPhone 12 models without a power adapter...

Report: Apple Silicon iMac Featuring Desktop Class 'A14T' Chip Coming First Half of 2021

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:14 am PDT by
The first iMac powered by Apple Silicon is set to arrive in the first half of next year and will feature a desktop class "A14T" chip, according to Chinese-language newspaper The China Times. Codenamed "Mt. Jade," Apple's first custom-made desktop processor will be twinned with its first self-developed GPU, codenamed "Lifuka," both of which are being produced using TSMC's 5-nanometer process, ...

iPhone 12 Ceramic Shield Still 'Scratches at Level 6 With Deeper Grooves at Level 7' in Mohs Hardness Test

Wednesday October 28, 2020 7:10 am PDT by
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new Ceramic Shield front cover that is "tougher than any smartphone glass," according to Apple, but the displays on the devices still have similar scratch resistance as previous iPhones based on a new test. Zack Nelson today shared his much-anticipated iPhone 12 Pro durability test on his YouTube channel JerryRigEverything, and based on the Mohs...

2020 iPad Air vs. iPad Pro: Hands-On Comparison

Tuesday October 27, 2020 3:03 pm PDT by
Apple announced the new 2020 fourth-generation iPad Air in September, but the new tablets just started shipping out to customers last Friday. We picked one up and thought we'd do a hands-on comparison with the iPad Pro, which was last updated in March, because both tablets are about as powerful and share many similarities. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design and ...

MagSafe Charger Only Charges at Full 15W Speeds With Apple's 20W Power Adapter [Updated]

Monday October 26, 2020 3:38 pm PDT by
Alongside the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro models, Apple introduced a new MagSafe charger that attaches to the magnetic ring in the back of the devices, providing up to 15W of charging power, which is double the speed of the 7.5W Qi-based wireless charging maximum. Apple does not provide a power adapter with the $39 MagSafe charger, requiring users to supply their own USB-C compatible option. Apple...

Apple Files Mystery 'Personal Computer' With Placeholder 'B2002' Name in Bluetooth Product Database

Tuesday October 27, 2020 12:36 pm PDT by
Last week, a listing appeared in the Bluetooth product database for an Apple product with a placeholder name "B2002" and a model number of "TBD." MacRumors was alerted to the listing by health and fitness tech website MyHealthyApple. The product is filed under the "personal computer" category, which Apple has used for previous Mac and iPad listings in the database, so it is hard to pinpoint...

Apple Releases First macOS Big Sur 11.0.1 Beta to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday October 28, 2020 10:15 am PDT by
Apple today seeded a new macOS Big Sur 11.0.1 beta to developers for testing purposes, with the new beta replacing the existing macOS Big Sur 11 beta 10 update that was released two weeks ago. The macOS Big Sur beta can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center and once the appropriate profile is installed, subsequent betas will be available through the Software Update mechanism in...

iPhone 12 Models Might Support Reverse Charging of Future Apple Accessories According to FCC Filing

Tuesday October 27, 2020 6:25 pm PDT by
iPhone 12 models could have an inactive wireless charging feature for accessories, according to an FCC filing discovered by VentureBeat's Jeremy Horwitz. In the filing, Apple said that 2020 iPhones support a wireless charging function that will seemingly be enabled for at least one future Apple accessory:In addition to being able to be charged by a desktop WPT charger (puck), 2020 iPhones...