Apple to build sapphire glass manufacturing plant in Arizona

Apple is repurposing this First Solar facility to create sapphire glass:

Apple will build a new 700-employee manufacturing facility in Mesa, Arizona, to make sapphire glass, according to releases from the State of Arizona and GT Advanced, a New Hampshire-based materials manufacturing company. Apple purchased the vacant manufacturing building from First Solar, and has contracted with GT Advanced to “own and operate furnaces and related equipment” at the facility.

Question is, how will Apple use sapphire glass. An alternative to Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 for smart-phones? As a crystal for a smart-watch? Time will tell.

  • tylernol

    “Time will tell”. hmm.

    • Dave Mark

      Ouch. Unintentional, I promise! 🙂

  • Ellyn IsfeelingThelove

    They use it right now for the camera lens because it doesn’t scratch easily. I’m interested to see what’s next.

  • KvH

    they also use it in the fingerprint sensor which is supposedly supply restricted. it could just be adding capacity for existing parts, so the next iPads can have fingerprint sensors, and not adding anything new at this point.

  • Scott Falkner

    Making such a critical part in Arizona suggests that assembly will be moving to the U.S., or at least some of it.

    • KvH

      Gorilla glass is already made in the US and shipped to assembly plants.

  • This is great news for the Mesa community. There is a lot of empty land and room for growth.

  • The moment Touch ID was announced it occurred to me that Apple won’t be satisfied with keeping that feature relegated to the home button. Eventually they’re going to want the whole screen to act as a Touch ID sensor. I have no idea how feasible that would be in terms of the sapphire needed to pull it off, but maybe this plant is a step in that direction.

  • Moeskido

    I like the idea of 2,000 new jobs that have nothing to do with marketing or publicity.

    • Scott Falkner

      … or the fucking Coyotes.