Correspondence between US Foreign Trade Zone officials and Apple’s Deputy Director of Global Trade Compliance made public yesterday by the Foreign Trade Zones Board indicate that Apple plans to open the plant by February, as a result of the company’s “aggressive go-live timeline”.
But there is more: the urgency is due to critical new sub-components that will be used in Apple’s devices. Currently, the company uses sapphire glass to provide protection for the iPhone’s camera lenses and the Touch ID of the iPhone 5s. The document, however, suggests that Apple doesn’t plan to stop there.
Project Cascade will conduct high-tech manufacturing of intermediate goods/components for consumer electronics. All finished components will be exported. This high-tech manufacturing process will create a critical new sub-component of Apple Products to be used in the manufacture of the consumer electronics that will be imported and then sold globally. By pulling this process into the U.S., Apple will be using cutting edge, new technology to enhance and improve the consumer products, making them best in class per product type.
There is no clear indication what the new [?] subcomponent is, but since last November, voices have been whispering about full-screen displays made of sapphire glass, thanks to GT-Advanced and Apple’s technology. It could also be used to protect the display of a much-rumoured new product, the iWatch.
It must be noted here that just a handful of days ago, Apple Daily heard whispers about 100 iPhone units featuring sapphire glass assembled by Foxconn.