The new manufacturing plant, in the town of Mesa, will make sapphire materials for Apple devices and will be powered entirely by renewable energy. It once belonged to a solar panel manufacturer and is being built in conjunction with GT Advanced Technologies Inc., a mineral crystal specialist. Of the new workers, 1,300 will be employed during construction. Once built, the factory will house around 700 employees. With a Foxconn manufacturing base just over the Mexican border, in Juarez, there is some speculation that the output from Mesa will end up there.
The deal will cost Apple over half a billion dollars—$578 million to be precise—but this will be paid back by GT over five years starting around 2015. The firm, which remained cagey as to which of its devices the new Arizona plant would be supplying, is already rumored to be revving up manufacturing the new Mac Pro in its homeland. Google has made a great play for patriotism with its Motorola Moto X smartphone, which, its publicity material states, is manufactured in the U.S. at a gargantuan industrial plant in Fort Worth.