Categories Recent Transactions

MJM Renews their lease at Park Place

Congratulations to MJM401k, LLC on their continued stay at Park Place On 32nd Street located at 4647 N. 32nd St., Ste. B-200 in Phoenix! For over 30 years, the experts at MJM401k have been working on every aspect of 401(k) plans, including design, implementation, investments, compliance, employee communications, provider selection, and fee benchmarking.

Categories Design, Narrative

Colors and Productivity — 5 Big Trends in Office Design and Colors and What They Mean

Below are the five big trends in office design for 2014. Guess what? I have been ALL OVER these trends for the past two years. Talk about getting cutting edge info before it is cutting edge—read it right here and be ahead of the game. Seriously, the five trends are things I have spent a lot of time talking about (open spaces, mobility) and other pretty obvious ones (more light from the outside and nicer kitchen break rooms). But the last trend is about colors and productivity.

I remember when I first started brokerage. Companies painted their walls crazy colors to designate areas, and to “spice” up the office. Then, five years later, the colors changed and you could tell the era of the space by the colors much like you can on a home with the carpet colors. As it turns out, colors do make a difference on productivity. Below is a cool article sent to me by Roberta Thomas of Evolution Design that talks about the different colors. I can attest to the color red. When I bought my house 15 years ago, the master bedroom was painted red and the carpet was red. We kept it for a year and the intensity of the color was just too much. We had to go neutral on both on the walls and carpet.

Based on reading this, I am now thinking of painting my kids’ rooms blue. Think they will do their chores more constantly? I have highlighted the best comments in yellow below because yellow is considered optimistic and enhances concentration.

Enjoy,

Craig
602.954.3762
ccoppola@leearizona.com

 

5 Big Trends that Will Dominate Office Designs in 2014

Design and Trend

By: Meredith Lepore
January 25, 2014

Office Design Trends
Office space trends (Photo: Thinkstock)

Offices have clearly changed over the last 50 years (watch any episode of Mad Men and this will be quite clear). But even in the last 10 years we have seen a major evolution for office spaces as companies migrate toward a more open and communicative workspace. “From integrating the latest technology to increased collaboration among coworkers, work environments are changing and so must the way offices are furnished,” said Ann Sennewald, vice president of merchandising at CORT, provider of transition services and furniture rental for businesses. “Offices designed in 2014 must reflect the needs of modern-day employees and invoke collaboration, flexibility, mobility and more.”

Here are the big office design trends we will see in 2014.

1. Open spaces
Cubicles are a thing of the past now. Not it is all about “hot desking” which gives employees the space to move around and work where they want, according to Bris Aluminum.

According to CORT, lounge seating areas are a key furnishing and office design trend that enable collaboration. Lower walls and cubicles foster a team environment. Unassigned tables put between work spaces are also enabling employees to meet and collaborate spontaneously.

2. Mobility
Offices are more mobile in general and so should work spaces. CORT finds that most chairs have wheels, but stools and standing height tables are also becoming popular. Seating that can move with employees is fostering the collaboration and flexibility mentioned above. Today’s employee is also increasingly aware of the health effects of prolonged sitting, hence the focus on ergonomic chairs for employees at all levels and stand up desks.

3. Bringing the outdoors in
People work better when they don’t feel like they are couped up inside all day. Bris Aluminum says greenery and plants will be in a lot more offices as well as access to roof decks.

4. More kitchen and eating rooms
Everyone knows that people commune around food so why not make more spaces that accommodate that? Plus, eating together can bring about more collaboration.

5. Bright colors and designs
No more boring gray or blunt white. Get ready for some colors and fun patterns in offices! So many studies show that certain colors like red and orange stimulate productivity.

…More on colors…

 

Best 5 Colors That Increase Productivity

Moredays

Source here

Try to think about a color that has the most positive impact on you. If you are responsible for choosing the most suitable color for office environments or your home, you should be aware of the effect of each color on people’s behavior. Which colors increase concentration and productivity? On the other hand which colors cause that you do not want to spend long time in a certain environment?

This article is about Color Psychology and it will explain effects of different colors on human behavior.

The basic division of colors is into warm and cool colors. Colors in the red area of the color spectrum are known as warm colors and include red, orange and yellow. If you want a room that conveys energy and cheerfulness, and encourages social interaction, warm colours are the right choice of the interior paint. However, these colours also evoke feelings of anger and hostility. For example red clothing might not help people in negotiations or confrontations. Furthermore, when considering use of warm colors in your office or house, you should know that warm colors also increase alertness and to some extent they could be overwhelming. Therefore, people tend to spend less time in a room that is red than in one that is blue. Warm colors are therefore suitable for non-production areas like entrances, corridors and locker rooms.

Colors on the blue side of the spectrum are known as cool colors and include blue, purple and green. They are psychologically soothing and tend to create calm and quiet mood and encourage concentration. That is the reason why cool colors are mostly picked as the interior paint for production areas, maintenance shops and can make a reception appear spacious and welcoming.

  • 1. Blue color – people are more productive in blue rooms. Blue stimulates workers to a higher performance. What is interesting is that blue clothing is recommended to job interviews because it symbolizes loyalty.
  • 2. Green color – green symbolizes nature and it helps to evoke relaxed mood. It is currently the most popular decorating color. Thus the backstage rooms where actors are waiting to appear on TV or on stage are painted with green color, as it calms the nerves and people are more relaxed.
  • 3. White color – white is popular in decorating because it is light, neutral, and matches with everything. White areas seem more spacious, reflect more light and usually give people optimistic mood. Therefore white and other light colors are used in production areas, small rooms and hallways. White is the symbol of cleanliness and sterility, thus it is used in hospitals and various medical centres.
  • 4. Red color – the most emotionally intense color that stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing. Red is recommended by decorators as the ideal color of furniture since it attracts attention.
  • 5. Yellow color – yellow is considered as optimistic color that enhances concentration, however it is too bright for the eye to be taken in. People lose their temper more often in yellow rooms.
Categories Design, Narrative

Design Forecast for 2014–Six Meta-Trends

Each year Gensler puts out a very informative marketing and informational piece that I find fascinating. I copied a couple of the key pages from this year’s piece and they are below. Get your reading glasses out or just see my highlights.

They talk about Six Meta-Trends:
–Mobility and performance—I have spent a lot of time on the mobility issue in these narratives. Adding performance to the picture is key. Companies like Yahoo are bringing some employees back to the office. Mobility only works when there is performance.

–Health inside the workplace—lots of hi-tech companies are focused on this. Bringing health to multi-tenant office buildings, now that is a different story. Today, nobody is really focused on it. In fact, in the 90’s almost every new building had a small workout room with showers. However, these saw very little use by tenants. Maybe the time has come to rethink this issue.

–Integrating Tech with the office—everybody is working on this. Technology in the office is a topic for today and the foreseeable future.

–Urbanization—In the next month or two you will see the actual graphing of this trend. I am doing an email on urbanization with some comparison to Metro Phoenix. The bottom line is that the big urban centers will continue to grow and create issues within their cites and for markets like Phoenix as we continue to compete.

–Globalization—Since Thomas Friedman’s foundational work “The World is Flat,” globalization is something we are all acutely aware of. Grabbing a Coke in a Wati in the middle of the Sahara desert while I was running the Marathon Des Sable (Okay, a little bit of bragging here. Check out the toughest footrace in the world http://www.marathondessables.co.uk/) told me this was an amazing trend here to push us all into new markets.

–Urban development. Phoenix has been interesting. Over three billion in investment in our downtown and it remains an Monday through Friday environment. Housing is the answer. People must live, work and play there. We have the work and play. Need more housing but the cycles keep messing with that ingredient.

Below the Meta-Trends is the page on office development. Here are a couple key points:
–Parking—we continue to see greater need for parking.
–Floor plates—they suggest bigger and bigger. I think there is a need for that but not for every submarket.
–Higher ceilings—cost be damned. I agree.

Thanks for taking a look.

Craig
602.954.3762
ccoppola@leearizona.com

 

Gensler1

Gensler2

Gensler3

Categories Narrative, Office Market

Thoughtful Outlook for Office Space in 2014

Annually, I review a large number of commercial office research. Below is a link to the UBS Global Asset Management US Real Estate Market Outlook 2014. With all of the cumbersome reports published, I find this one to be very concise and insightful. The entire report is 28 pages but we have included the key office pages below.
Many trends occurring here in Phoenix mirror what’s going on nationally, including my top three:

  1. Overall Office Vacancy – It’s still high relative to historical figures. We are not at the incredibly high 27% like we were in the recession, but we are still 23% vacant here in Metro Phoenix. Equilibrium is closer here to 15%.
  2. Type of Recovery – Professional Services (including lawyers, engineers, technology companies) are leading the recovery. If you look at all of the top leases in Phoenix over the past 12 months, these companies top the list, along with some government entities.
  3. Suburban Office Vacancy is Declining – Much of the quality, core (class A, prime location buildings) product has leased up at discounted rates in the recovery. This tight product type now commands as much as a $6-$8/SF/YR premium over suburban office, making suburban offices a much more attractive option. The suburban markets in Phoenix are recovering but still offer many great deals for tenants.

Much like UBS, we have a positive, but conservative, outlook for the office market in 2014. I CAN tell you I am pleasantly surprised by the leasing activity I’m seeing in this first quarter. I hope we can convert that into results throughout the year.

Andrew
602.954.3769
acheney@leearizona.com

 

Entire UBS Global Asset Management US Real Estate Market Outlook 2014

Office Market Report_Page_1

Categories Design, Narrative

Week 5: The Best for Last or at Least the Most Expensive–Apple’s New HQ

Eighteen months ago, I sent out the initial renderings of Apple’s new campus. Now you get an insider’s view. “Apple Campus 2,” as it is called, looks like a spaceship that has landed and the price tag is out of this world as well. Five billion dollars. This was Steve Job’s last big project he worked on before his passing. Today the site is 80% asphalt. When completed, the site will be 80% open space and park.

–There is not a straight piece of glass in the building (one of the reasons why the $3 billion budget is now over $5 billion)
–172 acres of land
–They will demolish 2.6 million SF of office and add 3.2 million SF
–When completed, 12,000 workers will house here which means that they will have a pretty normal density of one employee per every 266 SF

There are a number of renderings below AND additional highlighted text below the renderings.

On a side note (with more information at the bottom of this narrative), Apple is moving a group to Mesa, AZ. Seven hundred workers will be housed there. Seems like small potatoes but we are excited to have anything from a world class company like Apple and hope they grow like weeds. In a news announcement that came out three weeks ago, it looks like their next move will be making sapphire iPhone displays. Rock on Apple.

I hope you have enjoyed the last five weeks. If so, you can like our Facebook page here. Follow us on Twitter here or join our Google+ community here. More exciting and informational narratives arriving next week.

Thanks for reading,

Craig
602.954.3762
ccoppola@leearizona.com

 

Apple Spaceship Campus:
25 Photos of the New Campus Planned for Cupertino

Int'l Business Times

By: Dave Smith
October 13, 2013

Apple1
One of the first renderings of the new Apple spaceship campus, which was unveiled by the Cupertino City Council in late 2011. The Apple spaceship campus should be completed by 2015 or 2016. Courtesy / Apple

Update (Oct. 16, 2013 – 2:10 p.m.): The Cupertino City Council has unanimously approved “Apple Campus 2.” Barring any last minute petitions, Apple’s building permits will go into effect on Nov. 20.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) on Thursday revealed a scale model of its planned “spaceship” campus, which, if approved by the Cupertino, Calif., City Council on Tuesday, is slated for completion in either 2015 or 2016.

“The concept of the building is collaboration and fluidity,” Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer told the San Jose Mercury News in an exclusive interview, echoing sentiments from Apple executives Sir Jony Ive and Craig Federighi from their interview late last month. “It’ll provide a very open-spaced system, so that at one point in the day you may be in offices on one side of the circle and find yourself on the other side later in the day.”

For its new spaceship campus, which the company calls “Apple Campus 2,” Apple essentially plans to flip its current 175-acre site, which Oppenheimer calls a “sea of asphalt” as the former Hewlett Packard campus is composed of 80 percent asphalt, transform it into 80 percent open space and parkland, and drop a giant ring of polished glass right in the middle of it.

Renderings and drawings of the new Apple spaceship campus first appeared in late 2011, describing a “distinctive and inspiring 21st century workplace” that consisted of 2.8 million square feet over four stories to accommodate up to 13,000 Apple employees, with a mostly subterranean parking lot to help preserve the beauty of the site’s natural surroundings.

Prior to his death in October 2011, Apple founder Steve Jobs had a chance to present the new Spaceship campus “2” to the Cupertino City Council. The renderings and full-scale model were built by renowned architect Sir Norman Foster and his team at Foster + Partners.

“It’s a pretty amazing building,” Jobs said. “It’s a little like a spaceship landed. It’s got this gorgeous courtyard in the middle. It’s a circle. It’s curved all the way around. If you build things, this is not the cheapest way to build something. There is not a straight piece of glass in this building. It’s all curved. We’ve used our experience making retail buildings all over the world now, and we know how to make the biggest pieces of glass in the world for architectural use. And, we want to make the glass specifically for this building here. We can make it curve all the way around the building. … It’s pretty cool.”

Oppenheimer was present at a two hours-plus meeting with the Cupertino City Council — we’ve embedded the full video at the bottom of the page — but there’s no better way to understand how the new Apple spaceship campus will work than to see it in action. Thanks to Apple and the San Jose Mercury News, we’ve accumulated a set of 25 photos and renderings of the Apple spaceship campus. Enjoy.

Apple2
Another early rendering of the Apple spaceship campus, which is slated for completion in either 2015 or 2016. Courtesy / Apple

Apple3
The full scale model of the new Apple spaceship campus. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple4
A close-up of the full scale model for the new Apple spaceship campus shows tables, chairs, and plenty of space. The roof is also adorned with black solar panels. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple5
Apple’s proposed new spaceship campus shows a road leading to an underground parking space, which would help preserve the area’s natural beauty. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple6
Late Apple founder Steve Jobs said the new Apple spaceship campus would not include a single straight piece of glass. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple7
A look inside the full scale model of the new Apple spaceship campus. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple8
The full scale model of the new Apple spaceship campus included a parking structure, which is mostly underground, with moss growing on the sides and solar panels on the roof. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple9
A look inside the full scale model of the new Apple spaceship campus. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple10
Apple’s Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer, left, and Dan Whisenhunt, Senior Director of Real Estate and Facilities at Apple. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple11
A close-up of the wellness and fitness center proposed for the new Apple spaceship campus, which is slated for completion in 2015 or 2016. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple12
A close-up of the full scale model of the new Apple spaceship campus shows how the parking lot would be mostly subterranean. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple13
A close-up of the full scale model of the new Apple spaceship campus shows a new theatre for meetings and presentations. Apple has only held a handful of product presentations at its Cupertino headquarters. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple14
The full scale model of the new Apple spaceship campus. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple15
The full scale model of the new Apple spaceship campus shows how parts of the underground parking structures would overlook Interstate 280 in California. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple16
This close-up of the full scale model of the new spaceship campus proposed by Apple shows the road leading into the subterranean parking structure. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple17
For its new spaceship campus, Apple plans to install trees and greenery into the center of the all-glass ring for better air flow. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple18
The full scale model of the new Apple spaceship campus also shows a few different buildings on the perimeter of the campus designated for research and development. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple19
Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer, left, and Dan Whisenhunt, the senior director of real estate and facilities at Apple, reveal the full scale model of the new spaceship campus for Apple, slated for completion in 2015 or 2016. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple20
The full scale model of the new Apple spaceship campus shows off the all-glass enclosure. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple21
Another look inside the full scale model of the new Apple spaceship campus. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple22
The full scale model of the new Apple spaceship campus shows off a new transit center. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple23
The full scale model of the new Apple spaceship campus shows off four floors and 2.8 million square feet of space, with a roof adorned with solar panels. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple24
Another look at the parking structure planned for the new spaceship campus at Apple in Cupertino, Calif. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple25
The full scale model of the new Apple spaceship campus. Courtesy / Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

Apple this weekend also updated its project plan for its new spaceship campus, which includes solar roofing to help power the building. We’ve included the new proposal directly below the video of Oppenheimer’s presentation at the Cupertino City Council.

PROPOSED PROJECT The proposed project is the redevelopment of the approximately 176-acre project site into a new campus for Apple, Inc. (Apple). Apple is a corporation, established in Cupertino in 1976, that designs and markets consumer electronics, consumer software, and personal computers.

The project site currently comprises buildings with office and research and development uses1 which would be replaced as part of the proposed project. The campus would be self-contained and would include office, research and development space, parking, employee amenities, and a central utility plant. In addition, a segment of Pruneridge Avenue would be vacated by the City to allow for the development of a unified and secure campus. The Glendenning Barn, currently located north of Pruneridge Avenue, would be relocated to an on- or off-site location. As part of the project, Apple would also undertake changes to local roadways in the vicinity of the site. The project designer is the architectural and planning firm Foster + Partners, headed by Norman Foster. The landscape designer is OLIN, a landscape architecture and planning firm, headed by Laurie Olin.

The project would result in the demolition of all structures within the project site (consisting of approximately 2,657,000 square feet of building space) and the ultimate construction of 3,420,000 square feet of office, research, and development uses; 245,000 square feet of auditorium, fitness center, and Valet Parking Reception uses; 92,000 square feet of utility plants; and parking and ancillary buildings (such as security receptions and landscape maintenance buildings). Proposed buildings are designed to be energy efficient and to use renewable energy, much of which would be produced on-site (via photovoltaic infrastructure and fuel cells). Please refer to Chapter III, Project Description, for additional detail.

Apple’s ‘Spaceship’ Campus Budget Balloons from $3 Billion to $5 Billion

Portraying Apple’s new corporate campus as an “investor relations nightmare,” a new report reveals that the project’s budget has increased by $2 billion, causing it to become a year behind schedule as the architect looks to cut costs.

Apple Insider

By: Neil Hughes
April 04, 2013

Apple Insider1

Citing five people close to the project, Bloomberg reported on Thursday that the cost of Apple’s so-called “spaceship” circular campus could now exceed the $3.9 billion cost of New York City’s new World Trade Center complex. The increase in costs has reportedly led to a delay in the project, as architect Foster + Partners seeks to cut $1 billion from the budget.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook already revealed in February that his company plans to move to its new “Campus 2” by 2016. That’s a year later than the company had originally projected.

Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had a hands-on role in designing the facility. He personally revealed the project at a Cupertino City Council meeting in June 2011, just months before his death, where he noted that the project would be costly due in part to its use of curved glass.

“There’s not a straight piece of glass in this building,” Jobs said. “We’ve used our experience in building retail buildings all over the world. We know how to make the biggest pieces of glass for architectural use.”

With the project now apparently over budget, Bloomberg questioned how investors would react to the cost of the project. At the end of its last quarter, Apple had $137 billion in cash reserves.

“Investors didn’t squawk much when Apple was dominating the smartphone and tablet market, but shares have fallen 38 percent since September amid rising competition from Samsung Electronics and concerns about Apple’s product pipeline,” author Peter Burrows wrote, adding that critics would ask whether “curved glass is the best use of funds.”

Most of the cost of the project lies in materials and “fit and finish.” Under the plans overseen by Jobs, there will be “no seam, gap, or paintbrush stroke showing; every wall, floor and ceiling is to be polished to a supernatural smoothness,” the report said. Even the interior wood must “heartwood” from the center of trees from a specific series of maple.

Apple Insider2

The report speculated that some of the $1 billion in cuts that have been made to the project will come from some of those “fit and finish” aspects pushed for by Jobs. For example, the former CEO originally wanted polished concrete ceilings that will be cast in molds on the floor and lifted into place.

Apple’s new corporate headquarters will be located about a mile east of its current location in Cupertino, Calif. The company plans to migrate about 12,000 workers to the site, but also plans to retain its existing office space at 1 Infinite Loop.

The circular four-story main facility will be one of the largest buildings in the world at 2.8 million square feet. The project earned its “spaceship” moniker from Jobs himself, who said at the Cupertino City Council meeting that the project would look like one had landed in the city.

Apple’s Mesa Facility to Create 2,000 Jobs

PHXBIZJOU

By: Mike Sunnucks and Kristena Hansen
November 6, 2013

PHXBIZJOU_new Apple purchase

Apple Inc. confirmed today that is locating a domestic manufacturing plant in Mesa at the former First Solar facility.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and the Arizona Commerce Authority announced the site selection today. The site selection is a huge coup for Brewer, the ACA and the East Valley.

Apple will bring in 700 permanent jobs and create another 1,300 construction jobs to finish the build-out of the empty First Solar plant. Construction costs were not immediately available.

Apple officials also issued a statement noting they are partnering with the Salt River Project to power the plant with solar and renewable sources.

“We are proud to expand our domestic manufacturing initiative with a new facility in Arizona, creating more than 2,000 jobs in engineering, manufacturing and construction,” the Apple statement reads. “This new plant will make components for Apple products and it will run on 100 percent renewable energy from day one, as a result of the work we are doing with SRP to create green energy sources to power the facility.”

The plant will be located at the Eastmark development. That is Scottsdale-based DMB Associates redevelopment of the former GM Proving Ground in the East Valley.

“We’re obviously excited that Apple has chosen Mesa to have a manufacturing facility,” Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said. “This has been a great win for Arizona, the region and Mesa.”

Smith said there were no city incentives for Apple to locate in Mesa.

Greater Phoenix Economic Council President and CEO Barry Broome said the Apple plant will help the Valley attract other technology companies.

“Apple’s presence in the region will be a game-changer for the Greater Phoenix’s area, its innovation landscape and future ability to attract other high-tech companies,” Broome said.

The announcement also is a huge win for DMB’s Eastmark. The Mesa development has been stymied by the recession, a stalled resort and the First Solar plant that never was put into production despite incentive help.

Rumor: Apple could produce 100-200M sapphire iPhone displays with new equipment

Apple Insider 2
By: Mikey Campbell
February 06, 2014

A report on Thursday claims Apple partner GT Advanced has taken receipt of sapphire manufacturing and testing equipment at its plant in Arizona, with the new machines estimated to output between some 100 and 200 million 5-inch iPhone displays per year.

iPhone_SapphireiPhone_Sapphire 2

GT Advanced Technologies’ ASF sapphire furnace.
Source: GT Advanced

In a supposed effort to get a sapphire facility up and running in Mesa, Arizona, Apple and manufacturing partner GT Advanced Technologies are assembling machinery that will reportedly be used for bulk sapphire production. Among the machines said to be on-site are furnaces and advanced testing equipment.

While the source of the information has not been fully disclosed — listed only as “import/export records” — analyst Matt Margolis (via 9to5Mac) claims GT has taken receipt of 518 fully assembled furnaces that he estimates can churn out enough sapphire for between 103 million and 116 million 5-inch iPhone displays. An additional 420 machines wait unassembled and could boost yearly production numbers to about 200 million units.

According to GT, “ASF” sapphire furnaces produce high-quality, large-area substrates for demanding applications like high brightness LEDs, consumer electronics and industrial applications.

As for the sapphire inspection tools, GT is using a piece of hardware from Intego called the SIRIUS Slab. The automated system will increase the yield of high quality sapphire in a repeatable manner, says a GT Advanced press release detailing the Intego partnership. In the document from March 2013, GT’s president and CEO Tom Gutierrez said the implementation would offer lower costs and increased sapphire production for mobile device industries.

“Automating the sapphire material inspection process will deliver more repeatable and consistent results that drive greater throughput,” Gutierrez said. “This will help to lower the cost of sapphire for high volume applications such as cover material for mobile and touch screen devices.”

iPhone_Sapphire_2
Intego’s SIRIUS Slab sapphire inspection tool. Source: Intego

Apple inked a $578 million deal with GT Advanced in November 2013 for the supply of sapphire materials, though the specifics of the multi-year contract are largely unknown. The money is said to be a prepayment for the build of the Mesa, Arizona sapphire plane, GT Advanced will reimburse in full starting from 2015.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer offered a bit more clarity as to the size of the Apple-GT Advanced plant, saying in November that the facility will create some 700 new jobs in the first year alone, not counting the 1,300 construction jobs for building out the area.

In an interview with ABC News in January, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed the Mesa, Arizona facility is a sapphire glass plant, but declined to reveal how the material would be used.

Apple holds a number of patents regarding the production and use of sapphire in products like the iPhone, including a recently-discovered property for a sapphire iPhone display. The company first experimented with sapphire on the iPhone 5’s rear camera cover glass and expanded the material’s role as a protective cover for the new Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

It was reported in late January that Apple was looking to ramp production of “critical” sapphire subcomponent by the end of February, which will then be exported for outside of the U.S. for assembly. The part will supposedly be “new,” suggesting either a replacement for existing hardware, like an iPhone display, or something completely novel.

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Weekly Narrative