Apple has its head in the clouds

The ribbon hasn't even been cut on Apple's new 500,000 square foot data centre in North Carolina but the rumour mill is already suggesting that the Cupertino company is thinking of doubling that.

And with all of Apple's existing flash-based doodads having been joined by the recently-announced 13-inch MacBook Air and its 11-inch Mini Me, it looks like Apple fans will be increasingly reliant on cloud-based storage of one sort or another.

Likewise, the unveiling of the App Store for Mac, which will soon be receiving submissions from Apple's 600,000-strong army of third-party developers, will be adding to the strain on the company's existing infrastructure.

Apple has already dealt a crippling blow to the future optical drive in all its forms with the release of the MBA, which some predict will sell 700,000 units in its first three months. Don't forget, it was Apple which first abandoned the floppy drive to hoots of derision from all and sundry way back in 1998 with the release of the original candy-coloured iMac.

We may shed a nostalgic tear for the floppy with it's cheery blue plastic and dainty tin door, but we really don't miss it.

But could Apple really have set its sights on consigning the spinning platter hard drive to the dustbin of computing history? We think the old fella may have a few years in it yet.

Sooner or later flash memory will shrink in both size and price to the point were adding a couple of Terabytes of storage adds no more to the cost of a computer than a few pounds but, until then, most of our media will have to be squirted at us through the airwaves.

Faster connections and better compression techniques are being unearthed on what seem like a daily basis, and the £99 Apple TV hardware is just a taste of things to come.

The future is bright. The future is cloudy.