Today, 9to5mac has tracked down documents that reveal Apple's aggressive plan to have the plant live by February 2014. The documents also indicate the sapphire plan will be used for a "critical new sub-component" in an Apple product. Currently, sapphire is used in the iPhone 5s Touch ID home button as well as the camera lens.
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.
We've heard rumors of the next-generation iPhone featuring a front display made up of sapphire, which would greatly improve durability. Sapphire could also be used in Apple's long-awaited iWatch that is rumored to launch in 2014.
What do you think the new plant will be used for?