Apple expands ‘Made in USA’ efforts with sapphire glass factory in Arizona, creating over 2,000 jobs

“Apple has plans to build a manufacturing plant in Arizona that will extend its ‘Made in The USA’ efforts beyond the Mac Pro and other silicon facilities it maintains in Texas,” Matthew Panzarino reports for TechCrunch.

“The news came via a release from both the state of Arizona and the company GT Advanced Technologies, which will produce sapphire material.,” Panzarino reports. “The multi-year agreement, which was reported by MacRumors, includes a $580 million prepayment that will get paid back to Apple over five years starting in 2015, and requires that GT maintains a minimum level of manufacturing capacity.”

“The GT release alludes to the fact that Apple got a stellar deal on the glass, noting that ‘gross margins from this new materials business are expected to be substantially lower than GT’s historical equipment margins,’ but says that the strategic nature of the agreement and the fact that it’s a recurring deal offset the margins. Basically, Apple came knocking and GT couldn’t say no,” Panzarino reports. “Apple is purchasing an empty First Solar plant to repurpose it as a glass manufacturing center.”

Read more in the full article here.

Jake Smith reports for Pocket-lint, “Apple and the state of Arizona have announced a second Apple factory in the US – specifically in Mesa, Arizona – as Apple works to bring some manufacturing back to its home country.”

Smith reports, “The factory will be in partnership with GT Advanced, a company that will ‘own and operate furnaces and related equipment’ at the Apple facility. ‘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 told Pocket-lint in a statement. ‘This new plant will make components for Apple products and it will run on 100% renewable energy from day one, as a result of the work we are doing with SRP to create green energy sources to power the facility.'”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple strikes sapphire supply deal with GT Advanced – November 4, 2013
Gorilla glass maker Corning enters into strategic partnership with Samsung Display – October 23, 2013
Sapphire glass may be used in 2014 iPhone Retina display, sources say – September 18, 2013
Vertu COO: Apple investigated sapphire crystal displays, but found them infeasible at this time – June 13, 2013
Corning’s Gorilla Glass vs. sapphire for mobile touch displays – May 28, 2013
Apple’s next iPhone screen could be made of Sapphire – May 2, 2013


  1. That’s Mesa, Arizona, not to be confused with the Black Mesa Research Facility, in New Mexico.

    All will be fine, no secret government shenanigans here, no enabling of alien invasions.

    1. I am very fond of Mesa AZ. I had zeroed in on it to start a manufacturing business. There is a well educated work force as well as a large number of illegal aliens. Many AZ businesses have signs posted that they will not hire illegal aliens but the reality is that most do and they are left alone. It is largely Mexicans who work for very little pay and want to live the ‘American’ dream and educate their children.

      1. If they’d only require able bodied Welfare workers to take these jobs we wouldn’t need Mexicans. If it was good enough for my immigrant Italian parents to pick beans in the fields of NY in the 20’s and 30’s, and work in factories here, it’s good enough for those on Public Assistance to take those jobs and get off assistance. People had more pride then when it came to accepting hand outs, and were not afraid to work for what little they got. We need jobs for those already here who are a current burden on our taxes. I know 2 younger people in their early 30’s healthier than me who haven’t looked for a job in ages, much easier to just collect other people’s money.

        1. Age of entitlement, my friend. Similar situation here in Canada where it’s not uncommon to find generational welfare bums. From grandpa to grandson, best to sit on their ass and claim poverty than to polish their sense of pride in getting a job.
          This being said, government is partly at fault here in making the welfare system too attractive compared to a minimum wage job. The perks of the former should be afforded to the latter.

        2. Years ago you had to turn in a paper showing a list of places you had gone to and left an application or interviewed, and I think you had to answer to why you didn’t get the job (this was in the 80’s so I’ve forgotten some details, but I remember having to do that when I got laid off from my 1st job out of college). No more of that accountability today, you do not have to prove you are making any effort at all to find work and get off the handouts. They just sit back and enjoy because the rest of us are working 2 jobs to support them and pay our own bills too.

        3. Actually, that’s not quite true. Some people are required to look for work and document it. They happen to generally be married with intact families. It’s the unmarried shack ups of any race that seem to get away with not looking for work – you can see them as they drive away from the welfare office in the new Lexus while you’re lucky your old POS car runs at all.

        4. Someone I know works for Social Services. There is a daycare center there. It SHOULD be there to help those who are working and need free daycare. Instead, the people show up in pajamas in the morning, drop their kids off, then show up at the end of the day IN THE SAME PAJAMAS and pick them up. Week after week this goes on. Our hand out system is a mess, and is abused by the lazy.

        5. The military has that problem with kids wanting to join. Many are too obese to sign up. I know because I just had a conversation with a recruiter for my step-son (I had questions) an he asked his height and weight and was relieved he was fit, because they have to turn down many these days because they are over weight limits.

        1. Exactly, it’s being recycled in a closed system, much like the coolant in a refrigerator. Better hurry up American manufacturers, before Samsung steels this technology and usurps other companies. We already know Apple is the primary R&D department for Samsung.

    1. That video shows why it’s practical to have the sapphire manufacturing facility in the US. There are very few people seen working on the factory floor, the operation is highly automated. I would expect that the vast majority of the employees would be either skilled technicians or managerial and support staff.

      As the plant will need to run continuously, it will need 24/7 staffing, so that means employing a lot more people than for a facility that only operates 9-5 on weekdays.

      1. It will take approximately 700 people to run the plant continuously. The other 1300 touted in the reports are “construction workers and associated positions;” i.e., temporary and/or low-paying jobs. It’s really great that they are getting a new 700 employee plant anywhere in the US, but a little perspective is needed in the reports: Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale’s area unemployment is over 150,000.

    2. … for pulling this thread up from the Off Topic mire so often followed lately.
      24×7 operation is good for productivity but not-so-good for employee health. While very few people notice the incremental damage while it progresses, eventually it overflows into Hypertension and/or Diabetes. Years down the road, usually.

    1. Apple has already assessed that issue. Apple’s investment strongly indicates that the answer is “yes.” So it isn’t a big question at all. Are you attempting to imply that manufacturing businesses cannot be successful because of U.S. labor costs?

      1. Many industries can attest to their inability to compete on the global stage: auto, computer, small appliance, metals etc. For this to succeed and flourish, it could set the model for other US industries to learn from.

        1. Not sure why someone would vote your comment down. It’s factual info. And you express hope and optimism that Apple have found a way to keep costs low and that others can use it as a model to keep their jobs on our soil. SMH, shame on you for being intelligent.

      1. Yup — it’s those pesky unions representing only 7.6% of the workforce that have victimized the “creators.”

        You really need to get some new bugaboos; your old ones are thoroughly played out. 😆

        1. We used to have a factory in our town pre 1970’s. They were the highest paid factory workers in the area, making high middle class money. The union advised them to strike for more money. The rest of us thought they were nuts, none of them were hurting for extra money, not even those on the lines. Company reminded them they were already getting top wages and if they went on strike, the company couldn’t afford it and would move the plant to another state where they already had a secondary branch. Union advised striking. Company moved. Management moved with them, a few workers did, the majority were out of jobs, and had to take work at the far lesser paying factories here. Sometimes unions get greedy, and give people poor advice, esp. in that case.

        2. That’s true. Sometimes union bosses get greedy, sometimes people like Jimmy Hoffa get in charge. Just like any other organization. But unions also got us the 40 hr work week, better living wages (c.f. Walmart and the cost to the community in social welfare programs for their employees), and other benefits like retirement accounts. So unions are not evil in and of themselves, just like corporations. It’s those who end up ‘in charge’ who are responsible. To rephrase a paraphrasing, “Just like corporations, unions are not people, my friend.” 🙂

        3. Yes, initially Unions were a positive for working conditions that were horrific years ago, but some Unions today take it too far. I also never understood the legality of the Union “closed shop” thing. If you have the right to “assemble” in the USA you should have the right to NOT assemble and still keep your job. I think it’s wrong to be forced to join any organization. Seems very opposed to the principle of freedom in my opinion.

        4. … PEOPLE. People can, on occasion, get greedy. Well, you ARE people and you KNOW people, so … how often might that happen?
          Unions generally start because Upper Management (also people) gets greedy and refuses to share the profits with those actually doing the work. Next time you see a CEO getting a huge bonus while the folks whose titles don’t start with a “C” or end in a “VP” get squat, you can figure that company is run by the GREEDY.

      2. You’re absolutely correct. Who knows better and has the more passion for the interests of their fellow Americans than the oligarchs running our industries? Let’s face it, having more money than you could ever possibly spend in ten lifetimes isn’t sufficient, and paying people a living wage that doesn’t require them applying for food stamps to help them get by. How much extra money does Walmart make by paying low wages? Better for them to have the government pay for their workers food than themselves. Plus they have the advantage of all those government subsidized workers only being able to afford shopping at their own stores. Now that’s the new American way, and the America I love. Aren’t the wealthy elite the best?

        1. The disease that the U.S. Is suffering from is economia extremis: a sundering of the national economy precipitated by creeping corporatism, the antithesis of classic entrepreneurial capitalism. A small number of people make godlike decisions that keep the world fabric knit to their desired pattern, despite the constant errors of conscienceless opportunists in their despicable ranks. A Mensa-like group intoxicated by power, they are the ultimate in corruption — a ruling elite unregulated by any agency except a primal urge for control and a demented belief in their destiny as stewards to a sorry race of clots: us. Throughout recorded history, the only perceived remedy to this wanton presumptuousness was intervention by the gods; and barring that, revolution.

    2. Price is no object keeping Samsung, Google, and Microsoft in the dark tech-wise is also a huge consideration, look for a on-shore cpu chip fab , and on-shore LCD fab plant in the future too.
      Samsung bought a piece (7.5%) of Corning to spy on Apple also a big reason for this move.

  2. Isn’t the Gorilla Glass made by Corning in upstate New York? Isn’t Gorilla Glass used in the iPhone, iPad now? This is just a shifting of American workers. Especially after ShamDung just signed a multi year deal with Corning and Gorilla Glass.

    1. Yes we do make Gorilla Glass in this area of NY State. Hopefully Corning will come up with something even better. I have some stock in Corning as well as Apple.

      And if any of you are ever in Upstate NY you should visit the Corning Glass Museum in Corning NY. It’s huge and amazing. They even let you blow glass and make your own tree ornaments, kids can do it too. Worth the stop.

      1. Sounds to me Corning should license the technology and jump in the game themselves. It seems just a matter of time before sapphire completely usurps Gorilla Glass. Is it possible that Gorilla Glass can evolve to the point to be as good as sapphire glass?

    1. I was having some fun finding the most expensive iPhone I could on the web. To my surprise I found a gold and diamond encrusted 5S with a sapphire screen. It was £10,000,000.

  3. So do I have this right? They’ll make glass for the iPhones in Arizona, then ship it to China to be assembled into iPhones, before shipping most of them back to the USA?

    Surely there’s a piece in this logistics puzzle that doesn’t quite fit? I wonder what other announcements on the manufacturing front Apple might be planning.

  4. Corning built a glass plant in Korea in the ’70s to feed the growing Asian market for TVs. It is the Asian division that Samsung deals with. No American jobs there, save a couple of managers perhaps.

  5. Possibly some of you are going to call this a political post. No and that aside, facts are Apple created jobs. No party affiliation. No kickbacks. No stimulus. Jobs created the American way!

    1. … content there.
      As you pointed out, Apple created a few jobs. Insuring those jobs stay in America will cost Apple some money. Money it has and is willing to spend on something other than huge(r) bonuses for people who already have more than they (and their wives, and their kids) can spend. So … Americans should say “thank you”.

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