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 will ship the boules to partners in Asia where the hockey pucks will be cut into blocks with diamond saws or wire, polished, shaped, and prepped for assembly into the final product, rumored to be a cover glass for a 2014 iPhone. Sapphire's hardness adds time and complexity to all of these steps, calling for significant supply chain investments. And, surprisingly, it can be prone to fracturing during this stage.

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

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