Apple Opening $1 Billion Data Center In Spring

Apple is on schedule to activate its upcoming $1 billion data centre in North Carolina this spring, igniting rumors about a new cloud based iTunes service.

Speaking during Apple's annual general meeting, COO and acting CEO Tim Cook told investors that the data centre in North Carolina will be operational by this spring.

This will be the company's second data centre, the first being located in Newark. According to Apple Insider, the new data centre is five times the size of the existing one. The Newark data centre facility operates over an area of 107,000 square feet while the North Carolina one will be spread across 500,000 square feet.

Technology blog GigaOM reported that Tim Cook has confirmed that the new data centre will support Apple's iTunes and MobileMe offerings. Apple removed the MobileMe suite from its retail outlets and online stores, in an indication that the tool is about to be updated with additional cloud computing support.

Should the new data center as suggested support iTunes, then this would make the release of a streaming iTunes sunscription service a possibility, which is already available with Apple TV.

Apple's main rivals, Microsoft and Google already have access to huge data centers to offer applications via the cloud, so this addition by Apple is much needed.