MobileMe - Apple Store (U.S.)“More information is trickling out about Apple’s new data center in North Carolina–it seems it’s going to be big. Amongst the biggest in the World, in fact,” Kit Eaton reports for Fast Company. “Are the folks at Cupertino shooting Apple into the cloud computing future?”

Eaton reports, “Over at CultofMac, there’s a fascinating post of an interview with Rich Miller–he’s the editor of online trade magazine Data Center Knowledge, so he’s about as much an expert as you can get on the matter. The post is detailed, but we’ve broken down the core arguments into a list for you:

• Apple’s existing Newark, CA., Data Center is around 109,000 square feet–the new one is over 500,000. That represents either a ridiculously big scaling-up of business or a whole new thing
• 500,000 square feet is among the largest centers being built in the world on a single site. Microsoft’s new one in Chicago is around 400,000, in comparison
• “The companies that are building the biggest data centers tend to also have the biggest cloud ambitions”
• The choice of site location depends on cheap electricity and/or fast broadband pipes to the World. Rural North Carolina was chosen probably more for tax breaks and low-cost running rather than fast connectivity

Eaton reports, “In other words, Miller is pretty certain that Apple’s intentions are to launch a massive-scale cloud computing initiative… You could draw one final conclusion, and take this as yet another hint that Apple’s fabled iTablet is on the way. It kind of makes sense–the iTablet’s probably not going to have the same raw computing power and local storage as a fully-fledged MacBook, so a cloud-based solution for iPhoto, Numbers and the like (and maybe even your iTunes library?) would make excellent sense.”

Read more in the full article here.