The cloud is the future, and the future appears to be arriving this spring, as Apple's North Carolina data center is finally due to go live, according to reports from today's Apple annual shareholder meeting. The phrase "in the cloud" refers to data hosted at off-site internet-accessible facilities rather than stored locally at a specific end-user machine, allowing you to do things like access photos, videos or music directly over the internet.
No one outside of Apple knows exactly how the North Carolina center will be used, but rumors abound. Apple Insider writes that the massive facility may support enhanced iTunes and MobileMe services, perhaps providing the long-awaited iTunes cloud-based streaming so many analysts have been hoping for.
Other speculated uses of the North Carolina data center include mobile iWork access and paid remote Time Machine hosting. Whatever it is, we'll likely find out soon after they start flipping switches in a few months.