Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and GT Advanced made a deal to launch a manufacturing facility in Mesa, Arizona recently. The facility will focus on building sapphire crystal components. Apple wants to make the facility operational by early this year.
We know that the facility will be used for building critical and new sub-components for future Apple devices. Apple will likely use the facility to build sapphire-crystal displays for future iPhones to start with.
9to5Mac received the leaked image above that proves that GT Advanced is preparing to manufacture sapphire for displays. These are based on the import/export records. The machines in the order are display-grade components instead of small pieces of sapphire that would be used for the cameras or Home buttons.
These machines are large and they can process slabs of sapphire crystal screen covers. This component purchase may not be entirely for Apple-related though. GT Advanced had several partners in the past that they worked with. However, 9to5Mac reported that there was a recent GT Advanced SEC filing that points to current work being exclusive for Apple.
GT Advanced received 518 units of the sapphire building machines with another 420 that are on order that still have to be assembled. The first 518 could build between 103 million and 116 million displays that are around 5 inches.
The machines would nearly double the annual output with an additional 84 million to 94 million screen covers. GT Advanced also ordered over 100 tons of graphite material for heating the furnaces. The sapphire crystal displays makes iPhone’s screen stronger and scratch resistant.