Apple wants to build more of its data center tech in Arizona

Just don't interpret this as an expansion of US manufacturing.

Reuters/Beck Diefenbach

Remember how Apple salvaged that defunct sapphire plant in Arizona by turning it into a data center? That facility might soon become more useful... if not as useful as you might think. Apple has proposed expanding the Mesa location to make data server cabinets. While it's not initially clear why it's making the move, a Business Insider source claims that this is about consolidating data center production. The company normally builds the technology on-site at its data centers, the insider says, and it now wants to switch to a centralized model where it ships everything from Arizona.

It's tempting to portray this as an expansion of Apple manufacturing in response to a political climate that encourages more domestic production, but that doesn't appear to be the case. The tech giant's proposal revolves around declaring its Mesa facility a Foreign Trade Zone that would exempt it from paying customs fees on imported goods. Apple would choose the duty rates it pays for the finished products, too. In short: this is really about saving money, and any extra jobs would be strictly incidental.