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Submission + - How Apple's billion dollar sapphire bet will pay off ( 1

alphadogg writes: Apple is making a billion dollar bet on sapphire as a strategic material for mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad and perhaps an iWatch. Though exactly what the company plans to do with the scratch-resistant crystal – and when – is still the subject of debate. Apple is creating its own supply chain devoted to producing and finishing synthetic sapphire crystal in unprecedented quantities. The new Mesa, Ariz., plant, in a partnership with sapphire furnace maker GT Advanced Technologies, will make Apple one of the world’s largest sapphire producers when it reaches full capacity, probably in late 2014. By doing so, Apple is assured of a very large amount of sapphire and insulates itself from the ups and downs of sapphire material pricing in the global market.
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How Apple's billion dollar sapphire bet will pay off

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  • Sapphire is the linchpin component in one of the two known processes for making blue and white LEDs. The other is CREE's gallium nitride process. If you could make sapphire cheaply enough it would be the dominant process for LED lighting.

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