Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is planning to open up their Mesa, Arizona sapphire plant in February. Apple said that the Arizona plant will be used for creating sapphire crystals for new devices, but it is unknown what the company will be doing with the new material. According to 9to5Mac, the plant will build a “critical” device component. According to data filed with the U.S. Foreign Trade Zone, the material built at the Arizona plant will be used for something brand new and has the code-name Project Cascade.
“Project Cascade will conduct high-tech manufacturing of intermediate goods/components for consumer electronics. All finished components will be exported. This high-tech manufacturing process will create a critical new sub-component of Apple Products to be used in the manufacture of the consumer electronics that will be imported and then sold globally,” says the report.
Sapphire is three times stronger and scratch resistant than Gorilla Glass, which is used for the screens on iPhones. However, sapphire screens cost 10 times as much as Gorilla Glass. By running their own sapphire plant, Apple could reduce these costs.