In Pictures: Here’s how Apple is spending $1 billion on sapphire

From rare gemstone to mass market material for future iPhones, iPads and more?

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Apple has been using small sapphire disks as covers, first for the iPhone 5 camera and most recently for the iPhone 5S Touch ID home button structure (shown here in exploded view, the sapphire cover at right). But the company is paying $578 million to equip an Arizona factory with sapphire furnaces that will produce an enormous amount of sapphire. The rumored reason: a sapphire cover for an iPhone display in 2014 or 2015.

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In Pictures: Here’s how Apple is spending $1 billion on sapphire

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