Apple's Arizona Sapphire Plant May See Expansion to Bolster Yields

As construction on Apple and GT Advanced's sapphire manufacturing plant in Mesa, Arizona, progresses, the two companies are already looking at expanding their available space.

According to AppleInsider, several companies in the area are currently bidding on a potential expansion, which would possibly allow GT Advanced to put out even greater quantities of sapphire for use in Apple's products. While it remains unclear just how Apple will use the sapphire, there have been several strong hints and equipment orders pointing towards sapphire displays for the upcoming iPhone 6.

mesasapphireplantaerial

Aerial view of Apple's existing facility (via AppleInsider)

Announced in November, the Mesa, Arizona facility currently under construction will house approximately 700 employees with enough sapphire-making equipment to supply screens for Apple's entire line of iPhones – capacity is at 100 to 200 million sapphire displays per year, according to an analyst estimate. If the proposed expansion is also used for sapphire manufacturing, GT Advanced's output capabilities could increase even further.

Public records from the U.S. International Trade Administration suggest that there are several vacant parcels of land adjacent to the area where Apple is already building.

Although the exact purpose of the second unit is unknown, the build would likely be similar to Cascade's building as project planners are said to be fielding bids from existing construction companies and material suppliers. Firms actively working on the project include Rosendin Electric, Wesco Distribution and Graybar Electric, among others.

While documents filed with the Foreign-Trade Zone Board in January suggested Apple was aiming to open the plant in February, construction is ongoing. The site does appear to be functioning in a partial capacity, however, powered by an array of temporary generators, possibly already producing sapphire for future products.

Top Rated Comments

eelhead Avatar
98 months ago
The circles and tracks there are remnants of the old GM proving grounds.
They have since moved to Yuma away from the home developers who have encroached onto the proving grounds making it harder to test prototype stuff.

I knew a developer bought a chunk of that land to build more houses but if they had anything left over Apple would have great room to expand.

Intel has been doing this over in Chandler the last couple of years and they are really pumping up production on hardware now.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Yelmurc Avatar
98 months ago
Desert circles?

Its a outline for the next Apple Mothership.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jayducharme Avatar
98 months ago
The circles are part of the old, abandoned GM dessert proving grounds.

Mmmmm ... donuts....
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
turtle777 Avatar
98 months ago
Breaking News: desert land available in Arizona. :p

-t
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jayducharme Avatar
98 months ago
That giant circle in the center of the image is odd. I didn't realize that sapphire production required a particle accelerator.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tknelson Avatar
98 months ago
The big ring in the left/west of the facility looks a lot like a particle accelerator.

In fact, it looks exactly like a smaller version of Fermilab's Tevatron Collider.

The question is: what do they need a particle accelerator for?

Image (http://www.fnal.gov/pub/today/images/images04/Tevatron-03-0391-28D_LG.jpg)

You're joking, of course. As a particle physicist that used to work at FNAL, the answer is they don't need one and wouldn't spend the $1B it takes to build one that size for no reason at all.

Not all circles are particle accelerators and not all particle accelerators are circular!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived last October in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
macbook air deals

Deals: Amazon Drops Price of 256GB M1 MacBook Air to New Low of $849.99 ($149 Off)

Friday August 27, 2021 6:16 am PDT by
Amazon today introduced new low prices on the M1 MacBook Air for both 256GB and 512GB storage options. To start, you can get the 256GB model for $849.99, down from an original price of $999.00. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Only Silver and Gold are...
iCloud General Feature

iCloud+'s New Custom Email Domain Feature Now Available in Beta

Wednesday August 25, 2021 7:48 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, users with a paid iCloud+ storage plan can personalize their iCloud email address with a custom domain name, such as johnny@appleseed.com, and the feature is now available in beta. iCloud+ subscribers interested in setting up a custom email domain can visit the beta.icloud.com website, select "Account Settings" under their name, and select ...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
maxresdefault

New MacBook Pro Models Coming at WWDC, Suggests Leaker

Monday May 24, 2021 1:27 pm PDT by
New MacBook Pro models are coming at WWDC, according to leaker Jon Prosser who has a mixed track record when it comes to predicting Apple's plans. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Prosser provided no additional information, but there are new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models in the works. The new MacBook Pros will feature the most radical redesign to the MacBook Pro ...
omg lightning cable comparison

Security Researcher Develops Lightning Cable With Hidden Chip to Steal Passwords

Thursday September 2, 2021 6:59 am PDT by
A normal-looking Lightning cable that can used to steal data like passwords and send it to a hacker has been developed, Vice reports. The "OMG Cable" compared to Apple's Lightning to USB cable. The "OMG Cable" works exactly like a normal Lightning to USB cable and can log keystrokes from connected Mac keyboards, iPads, and iPhones, and then send this data to a bad actor who could be over a...
ted lasso notchless phone

No, That Notchless iPhone Spotted in 'Ted Lasso' Isn't the iPhone 13

Tuesday August 31, 2021 2:15 am PDT by
Recent sightings of a notchless iPhone in highly popular Apple TV+ comedy "Ted Lasso" have led to sensational headlines suggesting this is a canny bit of product placement on Apple's part and that the iPhone 13 will be notchless. In actuality – and this could go without saying – the phone in question is very likely just showing a poorly superimposed display added in post-production. Notchless ...
calculatorapp

iOS 11 Bug: Typing 1+2+3 Quickly in the Calculator App Won't Get You 6

Tuesday October 24, 2017 2:03 pm PDT by
A bug in the built-in Calculator app in iOS 11 is getting some major attention this week, despite the fact that it's been around since iOS 11 was in beta testing. At issue is a calculator animation that causes some symbols to be ignored when calculations are entered in rapid succession. You can try it for yourself: Type 1+2+3 and then the equals sign into the Calculator app quickly. Due to...