New Apple plant in Mesa brings 700 new jobs

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

MESA, Ariz.  -- Hundreds of new jobs are coming to the East Valley.

Apple and its new partner, GT Advanced Technologies, Inc., could have their new plant in east Mesa up and running as early as next week.

The facility is located at Elliot and Signal Butte Roads. It will take over the now-vacant First Solar, Inc. factory.

This is the first significant Arizona presence for Apple.The technology giant looked closely at the Phoenix area about two years ago, before deciding to award a larger facility to Austin.

The Mesa plant will be manufacturing a “critical sub-component” that's used every day on your iPhone and iPads.

The material is called sapphire glass, and is basically a special, scratch-resistant glass that's used to protect camera lenses on Apple devices. It may also be used in other ways in future Apple Products.

The new plant is 1.3 million square feet, and will open up some 700 new jobs in technology and manufacturing over the next few years.