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Old Jan 14, 2014, 10:40 AM   #1
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Apple Begins Hiring for Arizona Sapphire Plant with Focus on iPhone and iPod




Apple yesterday posted a trio of job listings (via 9to5Mac) for positions located in Mesa, Arizona where the company is building a sapphire manufacturing plant. The facility is to be owned by Apple and run by sapphire producer GT Advanced Technologies, although the new job listings confirm that Apple will have some of its own staff on hand as well.

Furnaces for sapphire production
Sapphire is currently used to protect the cameras on several recent iPhone models, as well as the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5s, with the material's high durability and resistance to scratching making it a key component for those applications. Apple's commitment to the new sapphire production facility has led to speculation that Apple is preparing to significantly expand its use of sapphire glass, perhaps for the company's rumored iWatch or to protect iOS device displays.

Among the three Apple job listings for Mesa, one is for a facilities manager to oversee operation of the facility, while the other two positions relate to design and quality engineering with iPhone and iPod products specifically mentioned in the listings.
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The iPod/iPhone Manufacturing Design Engineer is accountable for driving the development of key mechanical manufacturing processes across Apple's worldwide supply base. In this highly visible hands-on role as the expert technical member of the Manufacturing Design Team you will have direct frequent communication and collaboration with Apple Industrial Design, Product Design, Manufacturing Design partners and worldwide suppliers.
Apple's mention of the positions relating to iPhone and iPod manufacturing of course does not indicate whether or not the company may have broader plans for sapphire such as an in iWatch.

Article Link: Apple Begins Hiring for Arizona Sapphire Plant with Focus on iPhone and iPod
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 10:41 AM   #2
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Nice to see them slowly moving production to the US.
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 10:42 AM   #3
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Hope the Chinese can still find jobs if we move all our production back home.
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 10:52 AM   #4
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I'm glad Apple's moving some production to the US! Poor Chinese though, they might need to look for other jobs!
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 10:52 AM   #5
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 10:53 AM   #6
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Yay iPod Touch isn't dead!
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 10:57 AM   #7
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I wonder if anyone will fall into one of the sapphire vats and gain sapphire skin and powers.
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 10:59 AM   #8
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Whoever gets that management job will have some interesting contacts within Apple.
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 10:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZOZO View Post
Hope the Chinese can still find jobs if we move all our production back home.
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Originally Posted by joshwenke View Post
I'm glad Apple's moving some production to the US! Poor Chinese though, they might need to look for other jobs!
I have a feeling that one of the fastest growing economies will be able to weather Apple opening a saphire plant in Arizona.
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 11:05 AM   #10
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Don't know how they will succeed in marketing saphire in their products anymore, when Gorilla Glass just announced a new version that is 2.5x stronger than saphire and with a bonus anti-microbial feature...
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 11:23 AM   #11
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Yezzzz!!!!! Ipod!!!! I love my iPod touch. Who needs an iPhone?
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 11:32 AM   #12
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Don't know how they will succeed in marketing saphire in their products anymore, when Gorilla Glass just announced a new version that is 2.5x stronger than saphire and with a bonus anti-microbial feature...
Stronger in what way? Is it denser than sapphire? If not then sapphire is still more scratch proof along with better material for finger print scanners and cameras. Also at what point does "stronger" matter any more? It can already take like 150 pounds in a direct area.
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 11:33 AM   #13
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Don't know how they will succeed in marketing saphire in their products anymore, when Gorilla Glass just announced a new version that is 2.5x stronger than saphire and with a bonus anti-microbial feature...
Yep, GG is stronger but Sapphire is still much more scratch resistant. At some things (like where Apple uses it for the camera lens and the finger print) that really is more important.
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 11:40 AM   #14
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I wonder if Apple will use sapphire displays in the next iPhone and iPad.
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 11:43 AM   #15
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Good for the economy!
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 11:45 AM   #16
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I'd love to see them do a new keyboard for the Desktops with a touch ID sensor in it. It would save so much time if it was integrated with iCloud Keychain. Although it would raise some issues with data security (I would imagine your fingerprint data would have to be uploaded to their servers) I'm sure they could find a way around it.
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 12:07 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by PsykX View Post
Don't know how they will succeed in marketing saphire in their products anymore, when Gorilla Glass just announced a new version that is 2.5x stronger than saphire and with a bonus anti-microbial feature...
Aren't gorilla glass and sapphire used for different things?
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 12:08 PM   #18
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I think this will be for a smart watch.

Real high end watches have used saphire glass for decades. It is a matter of fact that watches take a beating since you can't (really) put them in a case. This would make sense and the fact that Apple is putting so much effort behind this suggests that is more than merely an expansion of TouchID technology.

Last edited by osx11; Jan 14, 2014 at 12:19 PM.
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 12:12 PM   #19
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Maybe Apple is expanding Touch ID to its IPad line. As for a Sapphire Screen. Wonder what the advantage would be to Apple
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 12:19 PM   #20
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This is obviously for the all new iPod Classic!
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 12:31 PM   #21
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Nice to see them slowly moving production to the US.
This is where Tim Cook's expertise in managing the supply chain and knowing the manufacturing side of the house is going to come in handy. It is also where Apple can probably do the most good with its cash; slowly rebuilding manufacturing capability that has been lost. There's a lot that goes into that, and Apple can't do it by themselves, but the sapphire plant and the MacPro assembly facility are good starts.
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 12:45 PM   #22
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Hope the Chinese can still find jobs if we move all our production back home.
If anything this recession has brought landlords to their knees in some places. I don't blame Apple at all for purchasing the facility. A rise in rent of an industrial plant can kill a small business.
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 12:48 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PsykX View Post
Don't know how they will succeed in marketing saphire in their products anymore, when Gorilla Glass just announced a new version that is 2.5x stronger than saphire and with a bonus anti-microbial feature...
People don't buy Apple products because of what glass material they use. It's all transparent to them. (See what I did there?)
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 12:53 PM   #24
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Nice to see them slowly moving production to the US.
seems like everybody is happy to see this happening.
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Old Jan 14, 2014, 12:55 PM   #25
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Nice to see them slowly moving production to the US.
I agree. Hopefully they will set this trend also.
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