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.
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
In November of last year, Apple announced that it would be opening up a new manufacturing plant in Mesa, Arizona. Since that time, little information has come out about the plant except that it would be utilized to manufacture sapphire crystal for future Apple devices. The plant will be operated by Apple in tandem with GT Advanced Technologies. Earlier this year, we learned via (now removed) Apple job listings that the plant would involve components for future iPhone and iPod product lines.
Now, we have tracked down documents (with the help of analyst Matt Margolis) showing correspondence between U.S. Foreign Trade Zone officials and Apple’s Deputy Director of Global Trade Compliance. The documents were made public today by the Foreign Trade Zones Board. The papers indicate the materials Apple will utilize to manufacture sapphire, share details about Apple’s “aggressive” plan to take the facility live, and provide a description of how the sapphire will be used in future Apple products…