Apple’s Tim Cook Says Sapphire Plant In Arizona for “Secret Project”

by Brandon Russell | February 28, 2014

iPhone 5s Gold, Back, Black, Angle

During Apple’s annual shareholder meeting on Friday, Tim Cook may have casually let slip some big clues about the company’s future. When responding to a question regarding Apple’s sapphire plant in Arizona, Cook mentioned that the facility is producing material for a “secretive project,” but stopped short (unsurprisingly) of revealing what that project could be. There are a few distinct possibilities, one of which is the more likely scenario.

First up (and the likelier of the two) is the potential for two new iPhone sizes, both of which may include sapphire displays for near-indestructible screens. From earlier this month, a report claimed Apple had procured enough supplies to produce millions of sapphire screens for new iPhones, though those reports are unverified despite copious documentation. However, Cook noted that the company has U.S. suppliers that already make glass for iPhones, which brings us to the next possibility.

We’ve also heard that Apple’s fabled iWatch, which could be both an activity tracker and smartwatch, will come with a curved sapphire display for ultra durability. That would make sense, and certainly fall into the “secret project” description, but there’s no way of knowing at the moment. A secret project could just as easily be a bigger iPhone.

In addition to comments about a secret project, Cook told shareholders that Apple is working on “great new products,” some of which could be perceived as “extensions of what [Apple is] already doing.” The iPhone could fall into this category, but with the potential of two new sizes, consumers might not view them as mere “extensions,” but something that’s all-new. It will depend of design and features, of course, before we can say whether or not Apple’s next iPhone is iterative or something bigger (literally).

If Apple’s secret project is indeed bigger iPhones, we could potentially see one with a 4.7-inch display, and one with a 5.5-inch display to compete in the phablet market. Meanwhile, Apple’s iWatch will supposedly put heavy emphasis on activity tracking, and work with a Healthbook app designed for iOS 8. We won’t know what secrets Apple has in-store until later this year—maybe even as early as March, when Apple could introduce a new Apple TV.

WSJ


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...