Apple invests in new data centre – cloud computing coming to iLife and iTunes?

Apple has invested in a huge new data centre in North Carolina. The fact that a technology company has just nabbed new servers wouldn't be big news. H

Apple has invested in a huge new data centre in North Carolina. The fact that a technology company has just nabbed new servers wouldn't be big news. However, in these days of cloud computing, grabbing extra processing power is an interesting move.

With Google's Eric Schmidt no longer part of Apple's board, could the kids in Cupertino be ready to go head to head to Google with apps in the cloud?

Google is  beginning to push Google Apps with a billboard ad campaign in the states and will crash into the OS market when Google Chrome OS launches early next year. Microsoft is also set to bring its Office suite of applications to the cloud with Office 2010.

Apple has already made email and storage available remotely with Mobile Me and OS X's iDisk feature. But the acquisition of the North Carolina data centre could point to a plan to bring iLife and iWork to the cloud.

The investment in serious new server grunt would also give Apple the necessary power for a streaming service to combat the threat from Spotify. Perhaps the iTunes of the future will combine local storage with remote tunes in the cloud.

The rumours of an Apple Mac Tablet have skipped hand-in-hand with whispers of a new way of delivering music and video content code-named Cocktail. Could this new system feature the ability to access your content anywhere via the cloud?  

This is us dreaming but it's clear that Apple is making major investments in new infrastructure. All that hardware has to be for something, doesn't it?

Would you find cloud-based versions of iWork, iLife and iTunes useful? Or do you think tech firms need to get their heads out of the cloud(s). Tell us below.