Apple set up the plant with GT Advanced Technologies in Mesa in 2013 to manufacture scratch-resistant sapphire screens for Apple’s shiny toys.
However, GT Advanced filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October and closed the plant, after what appears to be a case of Apple shafting its partner by leaving sapphire glass was left out of Apple’s newest iPhones.
Since Apple owned the plant, it wants to turn it into something more useful. The $2 billion investment will stretch over 10 years with a 30 year commitment from Apple to keep the facility running.
But Apple does not really need another data centre. We have written before that it is hugely over capacity now. Jobs’ Mob said that the facility will be a data centre as well as a command centre for managing Apple’s other data centres and networks, which handle traffic from services like iTunes, iCloud and Siri.
It claims it will create 600 engineering and construction jobs at the data centre and the whole lot will be powered by solar energy.
As it wound down its Sapphire production in October, GT Advanced said it was laying off about 650 employees at the plant.