Apple Inc. is interested in sapphires. No, the tech giant isn't getting into the jewelry business. It has plans to build a manufacturing facility in Mesa, Ariz. to create sapphire material likely to be used in production of Apple devices.
The news was announced by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who hailed the technology company's choice as a significant capital investment in the state that will create at least 700 permanent jobs and 1,300 construction jobs.
"Apple will have an incredibly positive economic impact for Arizona," Gov. Brewer says. "Their investment in renewable energy will also be greening our power grid, and creating significant new solar and geothermal power sources for the state."
Apple is partnering with Merrimack, N.H.-based GT Advanced Technologies to open the manufacturing plant. GT says it specializes in innovative crystal growth equipment solutions for a number of industries, including consumer electronics. In addition to occurring naturally, sapphire material can be manufactured for industrial purposes.
Apple will give GT a prepayment of $578 million which will be repaid over the course of five years, beginning in 2015, GT says. Apple will own the facility but GT will own and operate the production furnaces.
So far, Apple is mum about what exactly it will be manufacturing, but reports have speculated that the sapphire material could be used in screen production for devices like iPads and iPhones.
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