At 500,000 square feet, Apple’s $1 billion data center in NC will be among the largest in the world. Ever since construction began there has been speculation of what the intended purpose is going to be and Apple is not one to let you in on their plans. Many in the tech community feel there has always been a grand plan and it now appears to be coming to light. Most seem to think that this will be the cornerstone of Apples cloud drive effort. We have gotten hints of such a setup with MobileMe and especially after Apple purchased cloud music company LaLa. There is even evidence that Apple has purchased the domain name iCloud.com. As is often the case, registration data is veiled via a number of intermediaries to hide the true owner until launch.
The most popular notion of what the data center’s intended use will be is a cloud music service from Apple. This seems to make sense. As Sun (remember them) said many years ago (year 2000, I think), the Internet is the computer! Why do we have to go to the trouble of downloading to listen to our music, or podcasts? Can we have an internet (cloud) based drive that held all of our media (music,movies,podcasts,pictures)? Sure we can. The most difficult part comes from the bottleneck created by a lack of sufficient bandwidth. Once there is sufficient bandwidth, there will be fewer reasons to have local storage. Nothing will ever go wrong with my connection, right? (Amazon EC2, PSN Network).
As of today, Apple has reportedly hammered out deals with three of the four major record labels. This might have been a little more difficult had it not been for Amazon and Google paving the way with the Amazon Cloud Drive / Cloud Player and the Google Music Player
In any case, this data center is being viewed as another can’t wait to see event from Apple. With deals in place between Apple and the major labels, I have to believe that they are about ready to announce the purpose. Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) is happening June 6 through June 10 (2011) and this is generally a time when Apple rolls something fresh out. There probably isn’t an iPhone 5 in the cards. An iPhone 4s is more likely the case. A cloud initiative at the same event would make this another blockbuster.
AT&T and Verizon, are you ready??