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Apple to convert failed sapphire factory into sustainable data centre

Apple wants to invest $2bn into new facility, reports say

Apple to convert failed sapphire factory into sustainable data centre
Apple said it would construct a solar power plant to power the new facility

Apple is planning to turn its failed sapphire manufacturing facility in Arizona, USA, into a large, sustainable data centre, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Citing an announcement from Arizona state, the report said that Apple wants to invest $2bn into the new data centre, which will employ 150 full-time staff and become Cupertino's ‘command centre' - a place where Apple can manage its network of other data centres around the globe.

The vendor added that it would construct a solar power plant to power the new facility, making it environmentally sustainable. 

The original sapphire plant went bust in hugely public spat between Apple and one its sapphire manufacturing partner, GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT). Apple had previously agreed to buy the factory in 2013, under the premise that it would be operated by GTAT, which would produce scratch-resistant sapphire screens for the upcoming iPhone.

However, months before the iPhone 6 was launched, GTAT filed for bankruptcy protection, saying that it could not meet Apple's stringent quality demands. As a result, the factory did not contribute in any way to the components found in the current crop of iPhones.

According to the WSJ, Apple will begin construction of its new data centre in 2016, after the site is cleared by GTAT.

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