In an effort to convert the sapphire plant, Apple plans to invest $2 billion to build a state-of-the-art data center in Arizona. Following the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, many anticipated it would include a sapphire display. As such, the sapphire plant would guarantee enough material for a limited edition sapphire iPhone at minimum. However, instead of that happening coupled with the bankruptcy of GT Advanced Technologies, the plant’s use will change.
In the initial plan, some 2,000 jobs were supposed to be created. Many people felt the new data center would be an addition to other facilities out of California to include Mac Pro. It is definitely a positive move on Apple’s end in trying to turn a soured plant into a mega data center but perhaps it not the big prize that was originally planned.
The $2 billion investment makes this one of Cupertino’s biggest and when completed, more than 600 engineering jobs will be added. In addition to this, with all the construction and support needs, there is a real possibility of over one million workers being employed, although some will be temporary. Apple is also working to help more than 600 GT employees secure work.
Considering all the money involved and the effort that went into preparing the sapphire plant for the new Apple products, this new data center is kind of like a consolation prize, opposed to being the big prized originally planned. At earliest, this new facility will be complete next year since until the end of 2015 it remains under the control of GT Advanced Technologies.
The new data center will be constructed in Mesa, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix, becoming the fifth in the United States for Apple. This facility will also serve as a control facility for all of Apple’s networks around the world. With this, the facility will be powered with 100% renewable energy, much of it coming from a new local solar farm.
With the 1.3-million square foot facility falling short of its initial purpose back in 2013, some people are remaining optimistic. However, the battle in taking the plant over was significant since Apple had to first handle GT Advanced Technologies, which is responsible for manufacturing sapphire glass for Apple products.
After filing for bankruptcy last October, GT stated that Apple used a classic “bait and switch” method while calling the deal completely one-sided. In exchange, lawyers for Apple accused GT of making false statements in connection with the deal, as well as a number of allegations.
Along with the data center, Apple has committed to financing and building a new 70 megawatts solar power generation, capable of providing power to over 14,500 homes. Doug Ducey, Republican Governor of Arizona who just took office last month stated that sealing the deal quickly proves that the state of Arizona is the best place in the country to work and conduct business.