Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

A peek at Apple's new server farm

April 23, 2011: 7:07 AM ET

The local Fox TV affiliate finally sent a camera crew to the site

Screengrab: Fox News @ Ten

Did someone declare April to be National Visit Your Data Center Month and forget to send us the memo?

First there was Robert Scoble's breathless photo tour of Facebook's new facilities in Prineville, Oregon. Then Google's (GOOG) scary video about the security surrounding its Goose Creek, S.C., server farm, where it scans employees' eyeballs and crushes misbehaving hard drives with a hydraulic plunger. Then on Friday, the day after an outage at Amazon's (AMZN) Ashburn, Va., center jumped the fence and brought down a bunch of Web companies across the country, Greenpeace weighed in with an Earth Day "Clean Cloud Power" memo that handed out failing grades to several data centers, including Apple's (AAPL) giant Maiden, N.C., facility that hasn't even opened yet.

That's the data center that interests us. We've been trying to get a good look at the site -- still mysteriously invisible on Google Earth -- since a local real estate broker posted a couple flyover videos on YouTube.

Well, last week, having heard from Jeffries' Peter Misek that the thing is either up and running or about to be, the local Fox TV affiliate in Charlotte sent a camera crew to Maiden and filed this goofy report.

There's so much wrong with Fox News' story that we almost don't know where to start. (Did anybody ever think it was just for iTunes?) But thanks to its camera crew, we do get to meet aptly named Bill Wagenseller, the real estate guy who shot the first flyover, and Scott Millar, who is introduced as a Wall Street analyst but is really president of the Catawba County economic development corporation. Although the county's building inspection office still hasn't received any expansion paperwork, Millar likes the rumors that Apple might be doubling the size of the facility, from 500,000 sq. ft. to 1 million,

"I'm ready to get the phone call," he tells the camera, "and to proceed with building anything they want."

Meanwhile, if you want to see a bit more of the site, DonnyJMD, who lives 24 miles away, sneaked into the woods last fall and shot this "Mission Impossible" video:

Also on Fortune.com:

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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