Apple isn’t known for its Internet services. It started a social network this one time and it wasn’t very successful. Mobile Me was pretty terrible at launch, and iCloud hasn’t been all that well received. One of the things Apple is trying to do to make its Internet services department better is building huge data centers in the US to store and facilitate those services.
Back in 2010 Apple began construction on a North Carolina data center. Since then they have expanded it a couple times. On Thursday they announced they are yet again expanding it.
The facility is already very big, at 100 acres of solar farm, plus a 500,000 square foot data center. This announcement plans to double the data center space. The Hickory Record adds:
Like the previous tactical data center, plans for the new one shows banks of computers in the main portion of it and 11 air units to cool it. Two more air units will supply the office and other occupied area of the data center. Its security measures appear to be similar to that of the previous data center, including what’s called a man-trap door — one door closes before the second one opens.
Siri Is the Future
Siri hasn’t been what you’d call a revolutionary success. When it first came out it was buggy, unstable, and lacking in features. Over the last couple years Apple has added features and fixed the bugs. It is still quite unstable, despite the added power of the North Carolina data center.
That’s why it isn’t surprising that Apple is focusing so much money and time on building additional data centers to improve the quality of one of their key features.
Google Has Them Beat
Apple is a hardware company that tries to compete with services. Google is a services company that tries to do hardware. Google Now has seen rave reviews over the last couple years because it doesn’t have the same problems Siri has. It’s stable and has a ton of pretty awesome features. It’s even on iOS, so you can try it out if you haven’t already.
The point is that Google seems to have the service bit down, whereas Apple continues to struggle, despite putting tons of money and effort into improving the infrastructure. A possible solution would be to hire as many Google employees as possible, and use their expertise to improve the existing and future services.
Apple is spending a lot of money to expand its North Carolina data center, it also has two more planned or built in Prineville Oregon, and Reno, Nevada. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them expand their data center efforts outside of the US in the coming years since a large portion of their user base is outside of the United States.
Apple is going to have to use some of its huge cash pile to change the perception that it’s bad at services. It could take years, but here’s hoping they show everyone they know how.