Fire breaks out at Apple’s Arizona command center

We said 'sapphire', not 'a fire'
We said 'sapphire', not 'a fire'
Photo: 12 News

A fire of unknown origin broke out today in Apple’s command center in Mesa, Arizona.

Local firefighters responded at around 11:30 Tuesday morning to the structure, which formerly held sapphire glass supplier GT Advanced Technologies.

A Mesa fire spokesperson said the flames seemed to be localized to the roof of the building, near Signal Butte Road and Elliot Road.

Arizona wants Apple so bad it might hand out yet another tax break

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Back entrance to GTAT's sapphire plant in Mesa, AZ. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac
From sapphire to data. And with a tax break or two thrown in for good measure. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

Thanks primarily to the memories of its botched sapphire production efforts, Apple’s not had the best of luck so far with Mesa, Arizona — although politicians in the state are desperate to keep it there.

Under a new Senate Bill put forward this week, Apple could receive between one and two decades’ worth of tax breaks for its planned Mesa data center. The tax breaks, introduced by State senator Jeff Dial, would relate to Apple primarily because of its plans to power the facility with 100 percent renewable energy.

Apple’s failed Arizona sapphire plant will be $2 billion data ‘command center’

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Back entrance to GTAT's sapphire plant in Mesa, AZ. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac
From sapphire to data. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

The fate of GT Advanced Technologies’ failed sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona, has been decided. After committing to repurposing the 1.3-million-square-foot facility, Apple revealed today that it will invest $2 billion in making it a global command center for all of its cloud networks.

The company plans to have 150 full-time employees based in Mesa to operate the center once it’s built, and there will be an accompanying solar farm to power the facility with 100% renewable energy.

Apple will save jobs in Arizona by repurposing sapphire factory

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Back entrance to GTAT's sapphire plant in Mesa, AZ. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac
Back entrance to GTAT's sapphire plant in Mesa, AZ. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

Apple plans to repurpose its factory in Mesa, Arizona, following the spectacular implosion of its relationship with sapphire manufacturer GT Advanced Technologies.

A report from Bloomberg cites Mesa City Manager Christopher Brady as the source of the information. Apple, for its part, has said that it wants to focus “on preserving jobs in Arizona” and will continue to “work with state and local officials as we consider our next steps.”

Bankrupt Apple supplier wants to close sapphire plant after less than 1 year

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Sapphire is used to protect the iPhone's rear-facing iSight camera. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Sapphire is used to protect the iPhone's rear-facing iSight camera. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

GT Advanced Technologies is apparently getting out of the sapphire production game, after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the start of this week.

As reported by Re/code and the Wall Street Journal, the beleaguered company is asking the court’s permission to “wind down” operations at its sapphire manufacturing plant in Arizona — and, yes, for those keep track, that does come less than one year after the company first announced its game-changing deal with Apple.