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:
A new report filed by The Wall Street Journal today is the latest to claim that Apple’s next generation of iPhones will sport sapphire displays. In addition to commentary from analysts over how the more expensive material could impact costs for Apple, the WSJ report includes the following tidbit:
Apple is considering using sapphire screens in more-expensive models of the two new, larger iPhones it plans to debut this fall, if it can get enough of the material, people familiar with the matter say.
Two things are notable in mention above. First, the WSJ mentions “two new, larger iPhones” as reports continue to describe both a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch model to be introduced with the latter size possibly available after the former. Next, the WSJ describes sapphire displays as possibly only being available on “more-expensive models” of the new iPhones.
After showing more journalists around its solar-powered North Carolina data center (where it is building a third solar farm), Apple says that its new focus for renewable energy is its supply chain. The Guardian reports that the sapphire factory in Arizona forms part of this initiative.
The company is also moving to install solar and geothermal power at a plant in Mesa, Arizona that has been manufacturing sapphire glass. Apple would not directly comment on the Arizona factory but the state’s governor, Jan Brewer, has publicly praised the company’s decision to relocate there and to use solar and geothermal in manufacturing.
Apple’s VP of environmental initiatives Lisa Jackson said that the company is conscious that its supply chain cannot claim the same green credentials as Apple itself … Read more
With a long list of leaks in recent months showing mock ups of the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones expected for release this fall, today we get a look at what is reportedly our first at the flexibility of the iPhone 6’s new sapphire cover glass. There’s not much information surrounding this leak or confirmation that what we’re looking at is the real deal, but the sapphire material is indeed something Apple has ramped up production of in recent months at its new Arizona plant. Read more
Apple’s new sapphire crystal component producer GT-Advanced announced its Q4 2013 earnings results yesterday, and in addition to talking about the past quarter, the company shared some details about its future and its well-publicized partnership with Apple.
We previously indicated, based on research into publicly available shipping documents, that we expect Apple and GT-Advanced to be developing sapphire crystal displays for a future iPhone model. The companies are likely to be able to produce over 100 million displays this year…
A report published in Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, via Mac Otakara, reiterates the flurry of previous reporting that Apple will release two new iPhones this year with larger displays, around 4.7 and 5.6 inches respectively. This has been reported countless times in the past by multiple sources. It also says that Apple is targeting a release in the third-quarter, again unsurprising at this point.
However, the report goes onto say that only the larger of these two phones will feature sapphire-glass. According to this sketchy report, the 4.7 inch model will continue to use Corning’s Gorilla Glass like the current iPhone 5s and 5c.
Apple is preparing to release not one, but two new versions of the iPhone in September, according to the South China Morning Post. Each version will ship with a larger display than the iPhone 5s, coming in at a whopping 4.7″ and 5.5″, respectively. The displays are said to have a pixel density of 441ppi, much higher than the current 326ppi found in the iPhone 5 and later.
The report also states that both displays will be made from sapphire crystal, which fits with recent reports that Apple is planning to have its latest sapphire plant in Mesa, AZ operational in February for a “critical” product component. The displays will also be flat, not curved, the Post says.
If you were wondering why Apple chose Mesa, Arizona, as the location of its latest manufacturing plant in the U.S., a story today from Bloomberg explains that Apple, not shy about going after tax breaks, has taken advantage of many perks put in place by the suburb’s mayor:
So last year, when Apple was searching for a place to house a factory that makes a stronger glass for its gadgets, Mesa pulled out the stops. The city, which was ravaged by the 2007 housing crash, offered tax breaks, built power lines, fast-tracked building permits and got the state to declare a vacant 1.3 million-square-foot facility that Apple was exploring a foreign trade zone. With unemployment high, such are the lengths that towns are willing to go to to lure the world’s most valuable company.“Any time you have a company like Apple come in and invest in your area, especially with this type of operation, it’s significant,” said Smith, who triumphed late last year when Apple spent $114 million to buy the factory. The mayor celebrated by placing bowls of green and red apples in City Hall.
Smith added that original preparations were done before the city even knew it was Apple, but later Apple requested additional perks before moving in and even got construction permits expedited. Among the other advantages of choosing Mesa for Apple was a $10 million building grant from the Arizona Commerce Authority and an agreement with the city’s power company to build solar and geothermal installations and a new power substation for the plant: Read more
Last year, Apple and GT Advanced struck a deal to open and operate a manufacturing facility in Mesa, Arizona related to sapphire crystal components.
Earlier this year, we learned that Apple is “aggressively” pushing to make the facility operational by February 2014 and that the building would produce a “critical” and “new” sub-component for future Apple devices. Due to the vagueness and secrecy surrounding Apple and GT Advanced’s plans, there has been little to no confirmation regarding what exactly the partnership will yield for future Apple products.
But, thanks to new documents and information that we have uncovered with help of analyst Matt Margolis, we have a clearer picture of Apple’s plans…
Yesterday we posted some excerpts from an ABC interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook and other executives that officially aired on the network last night. In the interview, Cook is joined by Apple’s Apple Senior VP Craig Federighi and Apple software VP Bud Tribble to talk about the 30th anniversary of Mac, the new made-in-America Mac Pro, iWatch (iRing?), secrecy at Apple and the recent NSA surveillance controversies.
Cook on NSA surveillance programs:
Number one, we need to be significantly more transparent. We need to say what data is being given, how many people it affects, how many accounts are affected, we need to be clear. And we have a gag order on us right now so we can’t say those things… .Much of what has been said isn’t true. There is no backdoor. The government doesn’t have access to our servers. They would have to cart us out in a box for that, and that just will not happen. We feel that strongly about it.
Cook didn’t say much that we didn’t already see in the excerpts, but you can check out the full uncut interview from ABC above.
Back in November, the State of Arizona announced that Apple had chosen the city of Mesa to create a new manufacturing facility and in the process 700 new permanent manufacturing jobs. Some had speculated it could be part of CEO Tim Cook’s plan to bring manufacturing of Macs back to the US (Cook previously stated some parts will come from Arizona), but a supplier later revealed it would be providing equipment for the production of sapphire material at Apple’s new plant. Apple never confirmed what the plant would actually be used for, but we’ve discovered through a new job listing that Apple will indeed use the facility for manufacturing iPhone and iPod components. Read more
The State of Arizona today announced that Apple is planning to build a new manufacturing facility in the city of Mesa, Arizona. The facility will create 700 jobs for manufacturing, and an additional 1,300 jobs for the construction and management of the new facility, In total, Apple will be bringing at least 2,000 new jobs to the United States thanks to this new facility.
In addition to the manufacturing facility, Apple will be constructing a new solar power grid in the city to power the manufacturing operations, according to Arizona’s announcement: