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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The Mesa, Ariz., production site is equipped with the Advanced Sapphire Furnace (AFS, show here), from GT Advanced Technologies. These GTAT furnaces use a variation of what's known as the Czochralski melt-growth process: it combines melting with directional cooling to create a very large sapphire crystal of very high purity.

Shown: ASF units online at GTAT's sapphire R&D and production facility, Salem, Mass.

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

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