Apple and GT Advanced rampup sapphire production in Mesa

“While significant startup challenges have slowed progress on Apple’s sapphire-glass factory in Mesa, the massive facility is nearly finished and is ramping up production of the scratch-resistant material, GT Advanced Technologies CEO Tom Gutierrez recently said,” Parker Leavitt reports for The Arizona Republic. “”

“Both Apple and GT Advanced Technologies have been tight-lipped on details about ‘Project Cascade,’ a joint effort to mass-produce sapphire glass at the former First Solar building in east Mesa,” Leavitt reports. “During a quarterly-earnings call with investors on Tuesday, Gutierrez declined to give specifics about the timing or volume of sapphire production but provided an update on efforts to get the 1.3 million-square-foot factory up and running. ‘The build-out of our Arizona facility… is nearly complete, and we are commencing the transition to volume production,’ Gutierrez said. The company expects to reach “full operational efficiency” in early 2015, he said.”

“Apple bought the vacant building near Elliot and Signal Butte roads from First Solar for about $113 million and is leasing it to GT,” Leavitt reports. “The plant is expected to employ 700 workers over the next five years.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. You hear different things…one rumor says that GT has already stockpiled tremendous quantities of sapphire – enough for tens of millions of portable iOS products. That rumor appeared to be based upon the fact that Apple was about to pay another installment ($113M??) to GT based upon milestone progress.

    Now Parker Leavitt claims that “significant startup challenges have slowed progress.” Granted, the statements made by GT Advanced Technologies CEO Tom Gutierrez do not inspire confidence if you are hoping to see sapphire displays on the upcoming 4.7″ iPhone 6. But it could still happen using sapphire output from other GT manufacturing facilities. Or the sapphire displays might first appear in the rumored 5.5″ iPhone 6, which is anticipated to be released several months after the 4.7″ version.

    Who knows? But I am still hoping for the goodness of Android-slapping sapphire displays on the iPhone 6.

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