Apple to Open Another U.S. Factory: Sapphire Plant in Mesa, Arizona

Jake Smith, Pocket-Lint:

“We are proud to expand our domestic manufacturing initiative with a new facility in Arizona, creating more than 2,000 jobs in engineering, manufacturing and construction,” Apple told Pocket-lint in a statement. “This new plant will make components for Apple products and it will run on 100% renewable energy from day one, as a result of the work we are doing with SRP to create green energy sources to power the facility.”

The purpose of the factory hasn’t been named specifically by Apple, though GT Advanced says it has entered “into a multi-year supply agreement with Apple Inc. to provide sapphire material.” Sapphire is used abundantly in Apple products, including the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and camera lens in the iPhone 5S. This gels nicely with the word about “components” Apple gave us.

Another possible use: sapphire displays. Sapphire is harder than Gorilla Glass, and thus more scratch resistant.

MacRumors had a piece over the summer regarding a Swiss news site’s interview with an executive from Vertu, who claimed Apple had investigated sapphire displays (and recruited Vertu employees with experience designing them):

According to Oosting, Apple ultimately shelved the sapphire project because the material is unsuitable for production in the numbers that Apple requires at the current point in time.

Could be what this factory is for.

Monday, 4 November 2013