Apple and State of Arizona filings have come to light today that indicate Apple is rapidly expanding its Mesa, Arizona operations and GT-Advanced sapphire crystal production. PTT Research Senior Analyst and GTAT investor Matt Margolis shared the new documents from his latest research with 9to5Mac. The first interesting piece of the filings is a letter from Apple’s Director of Global Trade Compliance James J. Patton from early July to the U.S Department of Commerce:

Screenshot 2014-08-21 08.26.39

The letter indicates this plan for expansion by Apple as well as an “aggressive go-live timeline of August 2014.” This indicates that Apple planned to have begun production of sapphire crystal components for new iOS devices this month, and many reports have indicated that new iPhones and other Apple gear have gone into production this month. In January, Apple filings indicated an “aggressive go-live timeline of February,” but it is not confirmed if these same go-live plans were delayed by several months or if this new go-live timeline is for a separate product or components.

With the new sapphire-covered iPhones being announced next month, it seems more likely that this new “August” product is different from the iPhone. Also coming this fall is the Apple wearable, dubbed by some as either the “iBand” or the “iWatch.” We previously reported that the fashionable item will connect to iOS devices and sport several high-grade health and fitness sensors to track users’ bodies. We also reported that Apple is angling the device as “fashionable.” Perhaps pointing to this device being the topic of this new August filing, the new documents call the components “jewelry:”

Screenshot 2014-08-21 08.33.36

Margolis’s research notes that the new Sapphire component listed on the above chart under reference number 7116.20 could refer to jewelry:

Sapphire HTSUS No. 7116.20 represents Articles Of Jewelry Of Precious Or Semiprecious Stones, Valued Not Over $40 Per Piece, Not Containing Jadeite Or Rubies.

Notably, however, this type of sapphire was not present on the documents for the presumed sapphire iPhone display production that began earlier this year:

This leads Margolis to believe that these new documents are referring to the Apple wearable, planned to be introduced in October, and not another product. The full newly discovered filing is available to view here:

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13 Responses to “Apple files to kick off expanded, potentially ‘jewelry’-classified sapphire production this month”

  1. Definitely interesting news. I wouldn’t be surprised if they preview the wearable in October (or earlier) and release it later on. They did it with iPhone and iPad (and Mac Pro) so it would make sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you, they can’t do that with the iPhone or iPad because it would affect sales of the current versions, but they certainly can do it with a new product to create buzz and demand. By previewing Health kit with iOS 8 betas and by releasing the wearables ads they’ve already started to invest in creating some form of positioning in the costumer’s minds which is great in my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

    • jrox16 says:

      Absolutely. This is always the way with an all new product. I’m also thinking October reveal, early 2015 on-sale. Whatever “it” is.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think they’re also doing this to prevent leaks. This is the first bit of info that we’ve gotten that isn’t pure analyst speculation. At the same time, this isn’t really a big leak, and doesn’t give us any concrete info. I see them having a few proto-types up and running for developers to play with in early October, and then the iWatch will go on sale Black Friday or early December. Based upon the smaller size of the iWatch screen, I imagine that they can produce these at three times the speed. If you factor that they’ve been producing iPhone screens for the last six months, then these will produce September to November. With the last shipment that arrives in China being assembled and distributed to stores within 25 days or so.


      • Also production will probably be less than what the market actually wants, adding to the TV coverage of lines outside Apple stores – creating even more demand. Apple Stores that run out will get limited stock – but of course the online Apple store won’t. Then third party retailers will get new (large) shipments just in time for Boxing day …and by 2015 everyone and their dog will have an iWatch.

        Also by letting developers try it in October they’ll have enough time to either redesign their current apps for iWatch – or even build something from scratch. With the expected demand, I can imagine that every developer wants to be one of the few apps ready for the device when it launches – and in that case there will be a large selection of apps on day one.


  2. greggthurman says:

    Everybody should keep in mind that GTAT has another, albeit much smaller, production facility on the east coast. That facility was recently upgraded and has been in production for a few months.

    My guess is that initial supplies of Sapphire will be have already been produced. Production emanating from Mesa AZ are meant to satisfy larger ramp production volumes, at some point replacing the east coast production capacity.

    Ergo, I believe the “iWatch” will launch in early October at the latest.


  3. Seif Mansour says:

    James J. Patton is a miracle in corruption

    He mentioned onto the top of the letter “U.S. Department of Commerce” in order to take a commission.
    He Mentioned (Apple/GTAT) to break Apple’s Great Gifted
    He did mention ”Production authority” to force Apple’s authority on the U.S. Department of Commerce.
    So, what is this modification, This Explains that its a Great corruption & further digging & Filing through his wisdom will clarify that.
    That date March 19 – 2014 is correct.
    Facility 3740 s is not right.
    Sometime in July 2014 is a breakthrough in corruption, it’s like “ make the deal under the table” 1 August is the preceisve wise date that should be dated.
    PN authority “ Product National Authority”
    Expedited approval is like sincerely break my wisdom.
    Apple, you will not be aggressive, you will will be clear.
    Tracking user’s bodies is a Great Gifted Idea.
    Sapphire HTSUS No. 7116.20 should be valued at $ 41 USD. And/or containing Jadeite Or Rubies.
    The duty on Sapihire 7104.90 is 6.1%.
    The full newly discovered filing date would be July 1 -2014.
    The matter is complicated and I need personal help to solve this issue.
    “This is Precisive Wisdom”


  4. I feel the time line many have suggested, on this site and others, for the iWatch doesn’t make business sense. If they reveal it in September or October, there is no way they are missing the holiday season.

    Original iPod: Introduced October 2001; On Sale November 2001 (in time for holiday shopping)
    Original iPhone: Introduced January 2007 (Post X-Mas); On Sale June 2007 (well before the shopping season)
    Original iPad: Introduced January 2010 (Post X-Mas); On Sale April 2010 (again, well before the shopping season)
    Original iWatch: Suggested Introduction: October 2014; Suggested Sale: 2015??

    My guess based on economic spending, is many people will have the disposable income for an iWatch a month or two after Christmas. The iWatch will be on sale a few weeks (2-3) before Black Friday.


    • “My guess based on economic spending, is many people will NOT have the disposable income for an iWatch a month or two after Christmas. The iWatch will be on sale a few weeks (2-3) before Black Friday”


    • I see the iWatch being launched on Black Friday – not on sale of course. The media loves to cover crazy Black Friday shoppers, film the lines and ask them what deal has them in line 12 hours before the store opens. Ensuring anyone who doesn’t know about the iWatch, will in time for their holiday shopping. It also gives consumers enough time to buy it before Christmas. I also see the launch being online, in Apple stores and third party retailers. Within two weeks, the third parties will run out of stock. Then the Apple stores week three and the online store will have it up until the 21st, where they can get it delivered within the US by Christmas. Then I see retailers all getting special shipments on Boxing day – or stock in earlier that they can’t sell until Boxing day – again the iWatch won’t be on sale – but with all of the people who didn’t get one for Christmas wanting one I can’t see Apple letting any store be out of stock on the 26th. And I’m sure Apple will send a promotional Boxing day email to anyone registered – which they’ll ask you to do when you get to the out of stock page, and of course the main feature of that email will be that the iWatch is back in stock.


  5. Dan Eaton says:

    I hope that they announce it during the September announcement as a “One More Thing”, although something like this will probably get its own event due to all the stuff they’re likely to want to say about it. I’d love to see the invitations go out with something like “It’s Time” as the strap/tag line to get people excited.


  6. why is it that i can comment with my twitter account, but i can’t like a comment without signing into wordpress? who has a wordpress account?