Apple To Build Sapphire Glass Manufacturing Plant In Mesa, Arizona

Touch ID

Apple is continuing to build its manufacturing presence in the U.S. with a new plant in Mesa, Arizona. The project is projected to bring 2,000 local jobs and the building will be completely powered by renewable energy.

Sapphire glass will be made at the Mesa plant in conjunction with GT Advanced Technologies. Apple uses sapphire—a material that is incredible durable—in small parts of the iPhone, like the protective glass over the camera sensor. The Touch ID sensor in the iPhone 5s is also made of sapphire.

“Apple is indisputably one of the world’s most innovative companies and I’m thrilled to welcome them to Arizona,” said Arizona Governor Janice Brewer. “Apple will have an incredibly positive economic impact for Arizona and its decision to locate here speaks volumes about the friendly, pro-business climate we have been creating these past four years. Their investment in renewable energy will also be greening our power grid, and creating significant new solar and geothermal power sources for the state.”

GT Technologies will provide Apple with the manufacturing equipment per a multi-year agreement. When the facility is up and running, it will provide 700 jobs.

“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 spokeswoman Kristin Huguet told AllThingsD in a statement. “This new plant will make components for Apple products and it will run on 100 percent renewable energy from day one.”

Apple’s interest in sapphire suggests that it could become more of a key component in future devices. Touch ID will likely make its way to the iPad eventually, and then there’s the idea that Apple could eventually switch to sapphire displays. A highly durable glass also makes a lot of sense for wearables.

The new Mac Pro is assembled in another Apple plant in Texas.

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    For a variety of reasons, Apple sees China (correctly) as an unreliable, long-term partner.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a journalist and co-host of The CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." He lives in Lexington, Kentucky. If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Follow him on Twitter.

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