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New photos of Apple's sapphire plant show build progressing as rumors point to project expansion

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
Fresh photos of Apple's Mesa, Ariz., sapphire plant, built in partnership with GT Advanced Technologies, show construction of external fixtures is progressing as planned, while a new rumor claims the site may be expanded to a neighboring building.

Arizona


AppleInsider has received a batch of photos showing recent progress at the Apple-GT Advanced sapphire plant, a large nondescript building in Arizona that looks to be nearly complete.

Arizona


The tipster says construction personnel are working around the clock and even on weekends to get the job done by June. Documents filed with the U.S. International Trade Administration in January revealed Apple's "go live" target date was sometime in February, meaning the plant may be partially active as construction completes.

Arizona


Rumors floating around the local electrical industry in Arizona claim Apple may be mulling a project expansion into a building on the site that was previously owned by photovoltaic panel maker First Solar. The purpose of the support structure is unknown.

The Apple-GT Advanced factory, devised under the codename "Project Cascade," is said to be responsible for the production of a "new" sapphire part bound for a consumer Apple device. some speculate the component will either be a replacement part for current hardware, such as an iPhone screen, or something completely new.

Arizona
post #2 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

...some speculate the component will either be a replacement part for current hardware, such as an iPhone screen, or something completely new.

What other options are there?

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post #3 of 52
 
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

...some speculate the component will either be a replacement part for current hardware, such as an iPhone screen, or something completely new.

What other options are there?

 

Camera lens glass

post #4 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

Camera lens glass

That would fall under "replacement part for current hardware."

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #5 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


What other options are there?

Sapphire glass window panes for Apple Campus 2!

post #6 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

What other options are there?

Snow-blower-proof windows for their Fifth Ave, NY store.

Edit: Hell, shoulda read the end of the thread.
post #7 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


What other options are there?

Maybe a watch. Maybe a ring or some sort of wearable pin or jewelry. Who knows? Remember that the flip-open Communicator of Star Trek (TOS) was the inspiration for the original cell phone and later flip-phones. Maybe the Communications pin of Star Trek (NG) will inspire something that clips to a lapel or dress strap. 

Who knows what genius lurks in the hearts of Apple engineers.*

 

*a tip of the hat to Frank Readick Jr., the voice of the Shadow who first spoke the famous words that I am paraphrasing.

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post #8 of 52
I think solipsismx's point is that the author said "some speculate the component will either be a replacement part for current hardware, such as an iPhone screen, or something completely new". You don't have to speculate that - those are the only two options!! I guess a third option would be a replacement part for old hardware but that makes no sense.
post #9 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonMG View Post

I think solipsismx's point is that the author said "some speculate the component will either be a replacement part for current hardware, such as an iPhone screen, or something completely new". You don't have to speculate that - those are the only two options!! I guess a third option would be a replacement part for old hardware but that makes no sense.

I picked up on it which is why my response was something completely ridiculous. However, if Apple does retrofit the 5th Ave. store with sapphire panes, I'll deny calling it ridiculous, delete this post and claim Google is doing evil by inventing a cached version.
post #10 of 52

LOL, ChristophB.  Not totally ridiculous.  As someone who appreciates fine watches, seeing a giant sapphire window pane in an Apple store would probably bring tears of joy to my eyes!!  And I could see Apple doing that just to send a message to the world that they are the leaders in sapphire (as soon as they are up and running in mass production, of course!!).

post #11 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

Camera lens glass
Yep. Huge potential there. I can see a Apple trying to completely out do the industry with an advanced camera design. Some of the patents and rumors point in that direction.
post #12 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLite View Post

And I could see Apple doing that just to send a message to the world that they are the leaders in sapphire (as soon as they are up and running in mass production, of course!!).

What other precious gems can they make?


Apple's history of competition:

Apple v IBM
Apple v MS
Apple v Google
...
Apple v De Beers?

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #13 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLite View Post

And I could see Apple doing that just to send a message to the world that they are the leaders in sapphire (as soon as they are up and running in mass production, of course!!).

What other precious gems can they make?


Apple's history of competition:
 
Apple v IBM
Apple v MS
Apple v Google
...
Apple v De Beers?

 

I remember watching a piece on something like 60 minutes about a company that can manufacture ruby. They put a dye in the gems that is visible with ultraviolet light or something like that so people can spot theirs as not being natural. They had people of course request batches without the dye. Who needs ethics when you can manufacture Ruby?

 

My guess it is for upgrading the existing hardware or for something new. 

post #14 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

What other options are there?

Lenses for Apple's wearable video screens, stereo of course, called iWatch.
post #15 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post

Lenses for Apple's wearable video screens, stereo of course, called iWatch.

So far you and everyone else have mentioned a current part or something new.
Edited by SolipsismX - 3/26/14 at 9:24pm

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #16 of 52
200mm zoom lens is a quality purchase. Good for AI to expense it in the future.
post #17 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLite View Post

Sapphire glass window panes for Apple Campus 2!

That falls under 'something completely new'.
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post #18 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristophB View Post

Snow-blower-proof windows for their Fifth Ave, NY store.

Edit: Hell, shoulda read the end of the thread.

That falls under 'replacement part'.
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post #19 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by waybacmac View Post

Maybe a watch. Maybe a ring or some sort of wearable pin or jewelry. Who knows? Remember that the flip-open Communicator of Star Trek (TOS) was the inspiration for the original cell phone and later flip-phones. Maybe the Communications pin of Star Trek (NG) will inspire something that clips to a lapel or dress strap. 

Who knows what genius lurks in the hearts of Apple engineers.*




*a tip of the hat to Frank Readick Jr., the voice of the Shadow who first spoke the famous words that I am paraphrasing.

That falls under 'something completely new'.
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post #20 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonMG View Post

I think solipsismx's point is that the author said "some speculate the component will either be a replacement part for current hardware, such as an iPhone screen, or something completely new". You don't have to speculate that - those are the only two options!! I guess a third option would be a replacement part for old hardware but that makes no sense.

So you're back to two options.
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post #21 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

What other precious gems can they make?


Apple's history of competition:

Apple v IBM
Apple v MS
Apple v Google
...
Apple v De Beers?

Apple v the media
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post #22 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post

Lenses for Apple's wearable video screens, stereo of course, called iWatch.

That falls under 'something completely new'.
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post #23 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

So far you and everyone else has mentioned a current part or something new.

Such a hilarious thread! 😂
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post #24 of 52
Americans are notorious for being late on everything.
post #25 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by netrox View Post

Americans are notorious for being late on everything.

Can you elaborate?

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post #26 of 52
Benjamin Frost is going to become notorious if he continues posting effectively the same thing 6 times over ;-P

P.S. I think he's making a joke about a couple of world wars.

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post #27 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

...some speculate the component will either be a replacement part for current hardware, such as an iPhone screen, or something completely new.

What other options are there?

 

They could use the sapphire for hardware that they no longer make?

post #28 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonMG 
I think solipsismx's point is that the author said "some speculate the component will either be a replacement part for current hardware, such as an iPhone screen, or something completely new". You don't have to speculate that - those are the only two options!! I guess a third option would be a replacement part for old hardware but that makes no sense.
So you're back to two options.

I have to give that to him. He's technically correct since an old component is not the same as current component, and wouldn't be a new component type for the iPhone if they decided to re-include it.

That said I am not sure what component type has been removed We're likely talking a glass or plastic component. Does that mean the back casing of the iPhone 4/4S with sapphire instead of Gorilla Glass would count? I wouldn't count that since the current iPhone still has a back casing, it just replaced glass with metal.

So he's right… but, as you state, we're probably still back to two options.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #29 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

That falls under 'something completely new'.

Not really. The patents go back several years, an old idea for Apple. Sapphire is just a better way of doing an old thing.*



*Ok, I confess I didn't get the joke.
post #30 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

What other options are there?
It will be in a quantum state in which it is both completely new and not completely new at the same time, until you observe it, at which time it will randomly collapse into one or the other.
post #31 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Durandal1707 View Post

It will be in a quantum state in which it is both completely new and not completely new at the same time, until you observe it, at which time it will randomly collapse into one or the other.

Schrödinger's component?

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #32 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

What other options are there?
Another option is just for fun
post #33 of 52
Yes, they're doing it to simply throw Samsung off, and get them to invest in something they too have no use for. Brilliant, Apple.
post #34 of 52
Several other uses for sapphire are in lasers and logic chips. GT is suspected of big advances in thinner layers of sapphire (it has been used as non-conductive oxide layer in logic chips, laid on silicon). Sapphire is also capable of being doped as in ruby lasers where ruby is the dopant-- but also with other dopants to create semiconductor chips. Perhaps Apple's considerable acquisition of chip development talent over the years along with significant yields and scale for GT and other aspects in sapphire would suggest a couple of options.
-
Sapphire allows for faster operations in use with silicon at lower power. This is critical in miniaturization with increase in speed and lower power requirements. And then there's the elephant in the room that has been assumed to further in the future -- blindingly fast optical circuits increasingly competitive in low power. This is getting interesting. This is admittedly unknowledgeable speculation on my part, but we know Apple has a wealth in logic design, has acquired more talent through acquisitions and partnerships -- where is this leading? Sapphire shows promise in solar as well. The adjacent property to the GT plant is expected to be used by the Apple GT partnership and may be used for solar power generation and/or production of solar devices.

Solar forays always involve battery advances, and the talks with Tesla may be a budding partnership in battery advances in design, yield and efficiency. Add to all this the research with carbon nanotubes in chip design (already associated with sapphire), and we may being seeing a feasible roadplan for 5 to 10 years for great advances by Apple and partners in compute power and speed at low power requirements on orders of magnitude allowing for very small embedded devices in wearables and household and commercial devices. The new net if you will.
post #35 of 52
It's so obvious... they are going to start producing Steve Jobs action figures made out of sapphire.
post #36 of 52
I expect the next iPhone unibody chassis to be milled from a single block of oleophobic sapphire. Anything else would be a disappointment.

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post #37 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by jellybelly View Post

Several other uses for sapphire are in lasers and logic chips. GT is suspected of big advances in thinner layers of sapphire (it has been used as non-conductive oxide layer in logic chips, laid on silicon). Sapphire is also capable of being doped as in ruby lasers where ruby is the dopant-- but also with other dopants to create semiconductor chips. Perhaps Apple's considerable acquisition of chip development talent over the years along with significant yields and scale for GT and other aspects in sapphire would suggest a couple of options.
-
Sapphire allows for faster operations in use with silicon at lower power. This is critical in miniaturization with increase in speed and lower power requirements. And then there's the elephant in the room that has been assumed to further in the future -- blindingly fast optical circuits increasingly competitive in low power. This is getting interesting. This is admittedly unknowledgeable speculation on my part, but we know Apple has a wealth in logic design, has acquired more talent through acquisitions and partnerships -- where is this leading? Sapphire shows promise in solar as well. The adjacent property to the GT plant is expected to be used by the Apple GT partnership and may be used for solar power generation and/or production of solar devices.

Solar forays always involve battery advances, and the talks with Tesla may be a budding partnership in battery advances in design, yield and efficiency. Add to all this the research with carbon nanotubes in chip design (already associated with sapphire), and we may being seeing a feasible roadplan for 5 to 10 years for great advances by Apple and partners in compute power and speed at low power requirements on orders of magnitude allowing for very small embedded devices in wearables and household and commercial devices. The new net if you will.

RAM ?
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post #38 of 52
I think if there is an iWatch sapphire would be a logical and likely choice. Whether or not the iPhone will have sapphire will depend. It probably is on the table and will depend on the yield they are able to get. But if you look GT Advanced's prediction for the second half of this year (total sales and such) it should be possible to produce between 30 and 40 million displays at the by GT Advanced predicted price of around 12 dollars per unit (around 16 with gross margin included). These of course are just predictions by GT Advanced and there can always be some kind of snag but theoretically it should be possible for the iPhone 6 to have a sapphire display.
post #39 of 52
I've been doing some surfing ...

It turns out that sapphire may be a faster, lower-power alternative to silicon in the manufacture of semiconductors:
Quote:
Synthetic single-crystal sapphire is a single crystal form of corundum, Al2O3, also known as alpha-alumina, alumina, and single crystal Al2O3. Sapphire is aluminium oxide in the purest form with no porosity or grain boundaries, making it theoretically dense. The combination of favourable chemical, electrical, mechanical, optical, surface, thermal, and durability properties make sapphire a preferred material for high performance system and component designs.
High purity and low dislocation density make Kyropoulos sapphire an ideal material for a wide range of electronic substrates. We can supply epi-polished sapphire substrates according to SEMI standard, as well as per customer specification. We are able to deliver the tightest specification in the industry to meet all your particular requirements.

http://www.mt-berlin.com/frames_cryst/descriptions/sapphire_epi.htm
Quote:
Sapphire Semiconductors? Gem-Like Material May Promise Faster, Smaller, More Reliable Circuits, UD Prof Says

Date: July 14, 1998

Source: University Of Delaware

Summary:
Alumina-better known as sapphire or ruby in its mineral form-may promise faster, smaller, more reliable computer circuits. University of Delaware researchers have developed a new technique that produces extremely thin, alumina films offering an electrical storage capacity three times greater than silicon dioxide, the material most commonly used in existing transistors-the 'on/off' switching devices in semiconducting circuits.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/07/980714072357.htm
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post #40 of 52
Apple, a company which prides itself on progressive social initiatives and green everything, drops a plum in the lap of a state which prides itself on anti- immigrant policies, anti-gay legislation, and neo know-nothing politics. Yeah, I know, tax benefits, yadda-yadda. Just gotta ask . . .
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