It’s a known fact by now that Apple is building data centers on both coasts to support something big. Unfortunately, few outside of the company know what that something big really is. Of course there is speculation, guessing and common sense all thrown together to make sense of why Apple would be building so many massive data centers. The most obvious answer is iTunes on the cloud, or some kind of streaming that would make your iTunes content available from any of your iOS devices. Then again, there is also the possibility that Apple is simply trying to allow room for growth in the services they already offer. After all, devices like the iPhone 4, iPad and new and improved Apple TV have all been much more successful than many of the previously released Apple devices. This may even increase further with the upcoming iPad 2 and the long-rumored iPhone 5, which should no longer be tied only to AT&T if reports are true.
Let’s take a look at a few of the things that are currently known about Apple’s data centers:
1) Where the Data Centers Are Located:
Newark and Cupertino, CA as well as two in Maiden, NC. Currently, three of these data centers exist. The Newark location, as well as the Cupertino center on Apple’s campus and one of the Maiden locations. However, it’s been widely reported that a fourth is on the way and will be built in Maiden, NC and will be roughly the same size if not the same size as the current location. Two data centers are built on each coast in case of an outage. Think of it as a very huge, very necessary, backup.
2) Apple’s Massive North Carolina Data Center
The data center in Maiden is said to be built on a 183-acre plot of land. The building is said to measure in at 505,000 square feet, making it one of the largest buildings of its kind in the world. It’s also reported that Jobs & Co. intend to spend over $1 billion over the next 10 years on the data center.
3) Across the Street from the Data Center
In addition to the huge building in Maiden, All Things D has reported that Apple is constructing an additional facility on an additional 70 acres across the way from the data center. While Apple has not made any official comments on what the building is for, local rumors indicate that it will be used for office space.
4) Speculation on How They Will Be Used
We touched on this earlier, but this is one of the most important questions surrounding the data centers. Apple isn’t blowing all that money just to impress us (…or are they?). In all seriousness, the most likely scenario is one that allows for cloud access to your iTunes library. Still, other rumors and reports say that it may give users video streaming for their rentals. Finally, there is the possibility that it’s nothing more than expanding capabilities as their products become more popular.
Any of the scenarios that are speculated is possible. However, it’s worth taking note that a project such as streaming music from one’s iTunes library is one of those things that can take a boatload of negotiations, and a lot of people would have to talk to each other. At that point, it’s very likely that some information would be leaked out. At least that’s what we’ve heard from All Things D, but they are right.
Either way, we can be sure that Apple is right now working to pave the way for whatever future they have in digital media distribution. Will they be pioneers yet again?