Apple creates 2,000 jobs in Arizona, inks US$578m deal with sapphire maker

5 Nov 2013

The Apple iPhone 5c

Apple is to build a 700-job manufacturing facility in Arizona, in a move that will also create 1,300 construction jobs. It has also signed a US$578m deal with GT Advanced Technologies to secure supply of sapphire.

The move is part of a general trend to bring manufacturing and productive industries back to the States that had been allowed to slip through the fingers of the US economy in recent decades.

It is also inspired by more aggressive and competitive tax and support measures by individual States within the US who are striving to create jobs in their local economies.

The decision to locate the manufacturing facility in Mesa, Arizona, was also prompted by availability of renewable energy resources, including geothermal power, to boost efficiency, lessen the environmental impact and keep costs low.

 “Apple is indisputably one of the world’s most innovative companies and I’m thrilled to welcome them to Arizona,” said Arizona Gov Jan Brewer.

“Apple will have an incredibly positive economic impact for Arizona and its decision to locate here speaks volumes about the friendly, pro-business climate we have been creating these past four years.

“Its investment in renewable energy will also be greening our power grid, and creating significant new solar and geothermal power sources for the state. As Governor, I’ve worked hard to demonstrate that Arizona is open for business. Today’s news is proof that’s paying off.”

Shine bright like a sapphire

It also emerged overnight that Apple has signed a US$578m deal with New Hampshire-based sapphire manufacturer GT Advanced Technologies Inc to maintain capacity of sapphire production.

Apple uses sapphire materials within the digital cameras on its iPhone and sapphire also composes part of the new fingerprint sensor on the new iPhone 5s.

“We are very excited about this agreement with Apple as it represents a significant milestone in GT’s long-term diversification strategy,” said Tom Gutierrez, GT’s president and chief executive officer.

“We believe that it is in the long-term best interests of our company, employees and shareholders to build a robust sapphire materials business with recurring revenues,” Gutierrez added.

“By leveraging the new materials operation and our enhanced R&D efforts, we will be well-positioned to drive the growth of other sapphire opportunities, including the expansion of our LED and industrial sapphire businesses in partnership with our ASF customers,” Gutierrez said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years