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Old Jan 30, 2014, 12:18 AM   #1
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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.

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.
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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.

Article Link: Apple Looking to Take Arizona Sapphire Plant Live in February for 'Critical' Component
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 12:19 AM   #2
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 12:21 AM   #3
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 12:26 AM   #4
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Gorilla Glass is stronger, But which is more scratch resistant?
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 12:33 AM   #5
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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.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Illusion986 View Post
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...

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Also, let me make it clear that I would much rather prefer Apple use diamond instead of sapphire on my devises.
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 12:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacquesvw View Post
Corning claimed some time ago that Gorilla Glass has better scratch resistance, unless they are worried about sapphire killing their business.
A company saying their product is better then the others doesn't surprise me. Wether or not it is true remains to be seen.
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 12:47 AM   #7
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A display for an iPhone wouldn't be considered a sub-component would it ? Isn't it more of a main component ?

Could just be sapphire home button for the iPad and iPhone .

Unless of course Apple is going to use sapphire on some sort of remote control device.
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 12:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacquesvw View Post
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.

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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.
It is not even close. Sand will easily scratch Gorilla Glass. Sapphire? Not even if it wanted to.
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 12:51 AM   #9
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 12:52 AM   #10
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Apple will be using cutting edge, new technology
Cutting-edge. I see what you did there.
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 01:11 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacquesvw View Post
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.
Gorilla glass aint that strong and for scratch resistance I would choose saphire any day. Gorilla glass scratches easy no matter what they say, every iPhone I see ends up with a blemish. People have had sapphire watches 20+ years and not a mark.

Apple has selected partners who have made great advances in production speed, yield and cost reduction which is why they are pushing it so aggressively.

Also the good thing is if we end up up with all sapphire phones then they can give different colours right within the saphire itself so no threads of what colour scratches easiest.
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 01:13 AM   #12
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Clearly they're making lenses for military lasers. The time of corporate military world rulership is upon us!!!!!
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 01:22 AM   #13
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It is not even close. Sand will easily scratch Gorilla Glass. Sapphire? Not even if it wanted to.
Not on the beach on my private island i'm going to live on. That sand will be made of nothing but diamonds.
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 01:25 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Nevaborn View Post
Gorilla glass aint that strong and for scratch resistance I would choose saphire any day. Gorilla glass scratches easy no matter what they say, every iPhone I see ends up with a blemish. People have had sapphire watches 20+ years and not a mark.

Apple has selected partners who have made great advances in production speed, yield and cost reduction which is why they are pushing it so aggressively.

Also the good thing is if we end up up with all sapphire phones then they can give different colours right within the saphire itself so no threads of what colour scratches easiest.
"People have had sapphire watches 20+ years and not a mark. "

One word comes to mind when I read this sentence - iWatch.
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 01:30 AM   #15
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i think we all know it's blue sapphire crystal that is going to be used for iphone 6 and later ipads.

no need to say "we dont know" or "we are not sure"

----------

the number one weakness of smartphone is cracked or scratched screen.

this has been the issue since years ago. this is also why there is such a huge market for phone case and cover

of course apple wants to do something about it

you make it sound like it's a top secret when it's an open project known to all.
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 01:34 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by smulji View Post
"People have had sapphire watches 20+ years and not a mark. "

One word comes to mind when I read this sentence - iWatch.
I can't wait, I think the iWatch will bring on the cyborg era, where it monitors blood chemistry and siri can act as iDoctor and tell you if your body is deficient in nutrients or to basically act as a digital instrument panel for our analog body.

Without iWatch, our bodies are just like a car with no instrument panel. you just have to guess how fast you are going and when you need gas and you only notice the engine is messed up when things get really bad.
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 01:41 AM   #17
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It is not even close. Sand will easily scratch Gorilla Glass. Sapphire? Not even if it wanted to.
You only say that because you know full well that sand doesn't want to scratch sapphire.
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 01:44 AM   #18
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Sapphire hmmmm

Outside of creating a glass component are there any other functions that sapphire could improve/create? ie, batteries, etc.
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 01:54 AM   #19
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Is Sapphire more or less recyclable than glass? Does it's use improve Apples "Green Credentials"?
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 02:43 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacquesvw View Post
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
So what do you do when something is complex, slow and expensive? You build your own factory so you can optimize the production process according to your needs.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Illusion986 View Post
Gorilla Glass is stronger, But which is more scratch resistant?
Sapphire. Also, please note that 'stronger' is not a measurable property. 'Strong' is a linguistical term to evaluate stiffness and/or hardness (= scratch resistant) of a material. So 'strong' and 'scratch resistant' are not really two comparable indicators.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by smulji View Post
"People have had sapphire watches 20+ years and not a mark. "

One word comes to mind when I read this sentence - iWatch.
Yeah, but why would you hire iPhone Manufacturing Design Engineers for iWatch components?
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 03:33 AM   #21
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Is Sapphire more or less recyclable than glass? Does it's use improve Apples "Green Credentials"?
sapphire is just aluminum rust, I'd guess it's easy to recycle and a slight gain on their green card.
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 03:59 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Jacquesvw View Post
Also, let me make it clear that I would much rather prefer Apple use diamond instead of sapphire on my devises.
I can see a bunch of dorks using the iPhone 6 for a wedding proposal to their girlfriends . in lieu of an engagement ring.
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 04:05 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Illusion986 View Post
Gorilla Glass is stronger, But which is more scratch resistant?
Although a lot of hype has been heard about Gorilla Glass it is not anywhere near as hard as sapphire. Sapphire is only slightly softer than diamond and a display made from it would be very difficult to scratch. There would certainly be no need to worry about it being in your pocket with your keys. Problem with this is that this quality also makes it brittle. From various patents and rumours it looks like Apple is going to be producing very thin sheets of sapphire to bond to softer shatter proof glass which could give them a composite which is extremely resistant to scratches and also shatter proof. If they can do this it would easily give them the best display glass available.
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 04:12 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Illusion986 View Post
Gorilla Glass is stronger, But which is more scratch resistant?
If I understand correctly sapphire scores nine on the Mohs scale, making it the second hardest material in the world after diamond.

They use it to make bullet proof glass.

It's also made from aluminium, third most abundant element in the universe. This makes it a pretty much perfect material for Apple to use when building future durable and environmentally friendly devices.

Last edited by downpour; Jan 30, 2014 at 04:23 AM.
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 04:14 AM   #25
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Not a fan of Gorilla Glass after a 12-year old friend of my son's put some fairly deep surface scratches in my then-new iPad 3 playing Fruit Ninja.
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