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Apple Seeds New Builds of Safari 7.1 and Safari 6.2 to Developers

safari.jpg Apple has seeded developers with new versions of Safari 7.1 for OS X Mavericks and Safari 6.2 for OS X Mountain Lion as works continues on OS X Yosemite. In its release notes for both betas, Apple is asking developers to test AutoFill for passwords and credit cards as well as general website compatibility and extension compatibility.
Focus Areas
- Please focus testing on the following areas:
- Please test password and credit card AutoFill.
- Please test general website compatibility.
- Please test extension compatibility.
Apple also once again touts support for WebGL, which was included in prior seeds and allows users to view 3D content without the use of plug-ins. Safari 7.1 for OS X Mavericks and Safari 6.2 for for OS X Mountain Lion are expected to be released in the near future. Meanwhile, the company's public beta for OS X Yosemite launches tomorrow, July 24.

Apple to Open New Wuxi, China Retail Store on August 2

Apple has announced on its official Chinese website that it will open its new retail store in Wuxi, China at Wuxi Hang Lung Plaza, which is about an hour's train ride from Shanghai, on Saturday, August 2 at 10 AM.

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Photo of Wuxi, China retail store before opening.

Last week, Apple announced that its new Chongqing store is set to open this Saturday, July 26. New Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts plans to have a focus on furthering Apple's business in China, expecting to oversee the opening of 20 stores in the country through 2016.

The moves are a part of Apple's larger effort to grow its presence in China, as the company started partnering with the country's biggest carrier China Mobile late last year and became China's fifth-largest smartphone vendor in Q4 2013. Apple is also working hard to attract Chinese app developers to iOS. Thanks Jacob!

Apple's EFI Firmware 2.9 Update for 2011 MacBook Airs Appears Buggy, Some Users Unable to Install

Apple's recent EFI Firmware 2.9 update for 2011 MacBook Air models appears to be causing trouble for several MacBook Air users, according to a thread on the Apple Support Communities.

Released on July 15 to fix sleep/wake issues and a bug that caused fans to run at full speed after waking from sleep, the EFI update has caused some MacBook Air machines to shut down completely for several hours and on other machines, the update is still listed in the App Store after being installed.

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Multiple users have said their machines turned off and did not reboot for several hours after attempting to install the update, while others have been unable to install the update at all. Some users have also reported completely bricked machines even after several hours.

One user attempted to install the update multiple times with no luck, while another user took his machine to the Apple Store where employees were also unable to get the update to install.
I had the same issue. The machine simply shuts off and doesn't restart so the firmware update is never applied. The power button stopped working and the machine would not turn on at all. So I took it the the Apple Store and they cracked it open to do a physical SMC reset.

It booted up fine after that. We tried the install again and no dice. Same thing happened. This time the guy at the Genius Bar did some kind of "soft" SMC reset. He pressed SHIFT+FN+CONTROL+POWER at the same time (the first 3 keys are in the lower left corner) ... held it for a few seconds and let them go. When he pressed the Power button after that the machine booted up fine. Still didn't apply the firmware update though. The guy at the Genius Bar said he would report this issue to Engineering to alert them to the problem with the update.
It is not clear if the issue is widespread or limited to just a 2011 MacBook Air users, but as none of the affected users in the thread have discovered a solution, those who have not yet attempted to install the 2.9 update might wait to wait for an official fix from Apple.

FXNOW Channel With Simpsons World Content Coming to Apple TV

appletv.pngThe Apple TV may gain a new FXNOW channel that includes Simpsons World content, according to TV writer Jason Lynch who tweeted the news yesterday (via iLounge). Lynch said the FXNOW channel will come to the Apple TV, Roku, and other devices within the next 12 months.

FXNOW is the on-demand portion of the FX, FXX, and FXM television channels, all of which are owned by the Fox Entertainment Group. The FXNOW Apple TV channel will reportedly include content from The Simpsons, branded Simpsons World, which offers all 552 episodes of The Simpsons along with additional content. Simpsons World, debuting in October, will allow fans to search for and watch any episode or clip of The Simpsons on demand on FXNOW.

According to reports, Simpsons World will also allow users to create playlists of episodes and share favorite scenes, features that will likely make their way to the Apple TV version of the channel. FXNOW with Simpsons World currently requires cable authentication and is limited to FXX subscribers, and the Apple TV version will require a cable subscription as well.

Currently, supported cable providers for the existing FXNOW channel include AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox, and Time-Warner. Simpsons World access will also be available through the FXNOW app for the iPad.

Netflix for Apple TV Gains 'Up Next' Feature for Automatic Episode Playback

Netflix for the Apple TV was updated today to add a new "Up Next" feature, which lets users automatically select the next episode of a television show for playback. While easy playback of the next episode in a series has been long available on the web and in the Netflix app for iOS devices, it's been noticeably missing from the Apple TV.

Prior to today's update, Apple TV users were forced to return to the main series menu to initiate the playback of the next episode of a television show, a task that required several extra button clicks. As of today, episodes in a series will play automatically, requiring far less interaction with the Apple TV remote.

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"Play Next Episode" on the Apple TV works similarly to the same feature on iOS devices and on the web, playing the next episode in a series automatically after a short countdown timer. It appears that the countdown timer is only available after a user initiates the "Play Next Episode" feature manually for the first time.

Netflix's new Apple TV feature comes as the company announces its Q2 financial results, with a total 50.05 million subscribers, up from 37.56 million in Q2 2013. Netflix saw $1.34 billion in total revenue during the quarter, with net income of $71 million.

Apple to Open New Retail Store in Chongqing, China on July 26

Apple has announced on its official Chinese website (via 9to5Mac) that it will be opening a new retail store at the Paradise Walk Mall in the Chinese city of Chongqing on Saturday, July 26th, at 10 AM.

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Last Wednesday, Apple put up a colorful banner over the store's exterior, signaling that the store would be opening shortly. The store will be Apple's eleventh in the country, joining four stores each in Shanghai and Beijing, one in Chengdu, and another in Shenzhen.

Apple has made efforts towards growing its presence in China over the past few years, most notably partnering with the country's biggest carrier China Mobile late last year in addition to opening new retail stores. Apple also became China's fifth-largest smartphone vendor in Q4 2013, accounting for 7% of market share in the country.

Buyer's Guide: Discounts on MacBook Air, Retina MacBook Pro, AppleCare, and More

There are some solid deals on Apple's Retina MacBook Pro this week, as well as some decent deals on the iMac, the MacBook Air, and AppleCare.

Retina MacBook Pro

Like last week, multiple retailers are offering $100 to $150 off most Retina MacBook Pro models. The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro with 4GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage is $1,199 at Adorama and B&H Photo. The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage is $1,399 at Adorama and B&H Photo. The lower-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro with 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage is $1,849.99 at Amazon, Adorama, and B&H Photo, while the higher-end model with 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage is $2,449 at Amazon, Adorama, and B&H Photo.

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iMac

There are some small discounts on the iMac this week, with both Adorama and B&H Photo offering the 21.5-inch iMac with 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive for $1,349, a savings of $150 off the standard price. Adorama and B&H are also offering the 27-inch 3.2GHz iMac with 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive for $1,679.99 and the two sites also have the higher-end 27-inch 3.4Ghz iMac for $1,879.99 (B&H, Adorama).

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MacBook Air

There aren't many MacBook Air deals this week, but both Adorama and B&H Photo are offering the 13-inch model with 4GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for $1,099.99, a savings of $100.

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Buying from Adorama and B&H Photo gives the benefit of no sales tax in many states, as these two stores only charge tax in New York/New Jersey and New York, respectively.

AppleCare

B&H Photo is offering several discounts on AppleCare this week. The AppleCare Protection Plan for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro and the 15-inch MacBook Pro is available for $244, $105 off Apple's regular price.

The AppleCare Protection Plan for the MacBook Air and the 13-inch Retina Macbook Pro is available for $174, $75 off Apple's regular price.

The AppleCare Protection Plan for the Mac Pro is available for $174, $75 off Apple's regular price, while the AppleCare Protection Plan for the iMac is available for $129, $40 off Apple's regular price.

Before making a purchase of a Mac or iOS device, make sure to consult our Buyer's Guide to find out if it's a good time to buy. For example, because the MacBook Air was updated in April, the Buyer's Guide indicates that now is a good time to purchase.

MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors.

Photos of Construction Material Hint at Scale of Apple's Spaceship Campus

Construction at Apple's "Spaceship" Campus has been progressing at a rapid pace in the past few months, as the company most recently began putting up the outer walls and laying roadwork. Now, iFun.de (Google Translate) shares new photos of the steel and glass material that will be used for the campus' facade, which are being provided by German company Josef Gartner GmbH.

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Construction material for Apple's Spaceship Campus tested by Josef Gartner

The images show the steel and glass components being tested by Josef Gartner outside of its premises, and could hint at the scale of Apple's new Campus 2 building upon completion. The building will have a circular, multi-story structure surrounded by greenery, additional buildings, performance stages, a fountain, and more.

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A concept image of what the front of Apple's Spaceship Campus will look like

Apple's Campus 2 project will be constructed in two phases, with the first phase finishing up by 2016 and including a 2.8 million square-foot ring-shaped central building, an underground parking facility, a 100,000 square foot fitness center, and a 120,000 square foot auditorium. Meanwhile, the second phase of construction will take place after 2016 and include an additional 600,000 square feet of office, research and development buildings as well as an additional parking structure with 1,740 spaces.

Upcoming Apple Store in Hanover, Germany Likely Opening in September

Apple's upcoming retail store in Hanover, Germany may finally open in late September, reports developer Florian Schimanke (Google Translate, via iFun.de) citing sources close to Apple's retail team in the region. The report notes that Apple has had to fix a number of problems with the building to be used for the store, including physical defects, mold, and ventilation issues.

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Apple's upcoming retail store in Hanover, Germany covered by barricades

According to iFun, it is also possible that the store could open to the public on September 19, which has been rumored to be the launch date for the iPhone 6. Apple originally put up its traditional black barricades for the location back in April 2013, as images showing progress on the store surfaced this past March. The layout of the Hanover store will also be similar to the Apple Store Opéra in Paris, France, which has become known as one of the company's most visually appealing locations.

During its financial results conference call for the third quarter of 2013, Apple announced that it would be building over 30 new stores in fiscal 2014, with 2/3 of those stores being built outside of the United States. Some of those openings have included the Apple Store Zorlu Center in Turkey, the Apple Store VillageMall in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the Apple Store Kurfürstendamm, Berlin, Germany.

iCloud Mail Outage Hits Small Number of Users for 17 Hours and Counting

Users experiencing difficulties accessing their iCloud Mail are not alone, as Apple is currently reporting an outage affecting the ability to receive mail through the service (via Business Insider).

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While the issue affects only 0.1% of users, it is notable that it has persisted for approximately 17 hours now, having begun at roughly 1:30 PM Pacific Time yesterday.

Apple has not yet provided an estimate of when the problem will be resolved.

Update: After approximately 27 hours, Apple reports the issue is now resolved.

Buyer's Guide: Discounts on Retina MacBook Pro, iPad, Apple Accessories, and More

There are some good deals on Apple-related accessories this week, as well as some decent discounts on the Retina MacBook Pro and an iPad deal from Target that includes free gift cards.

Retina MacBook Pro

Like last week, several retailers are offering $100 to $150 off most Retina MacBook Pro models. The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro with 4GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage is $1,199 at Amazon, Adorama, and B&H Photo. The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage is $1,399 at Amazon, Adorama, and B&H Photo. The lower-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro with 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage is $1,849.99 at Amazon, Adorama, and B&H Photo, while the higher-end model with 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage is $2,449 at Amazon, Adorama, and B&H Photo.

Buying from Adorama and B&H Photo gives the benefit of no sales tax in many states, as these two stores only charge tax in New York/New Jersey and New York, respectively.

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iMac

There aren't many deals on the iMac this week, but both Adorama and B&H Photo are offering the 21.5-inch iMac with 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive for $1,349, a savings of $150 off the standard price.

MacBook Air

Apple's 11.6-inch MacBook Air with 4GB of RAM and 256GB of storage is available for $999 from Adorama, a savings of $100. The 13-inch MacBook Air with 4GB of RAM and 256GB of storage can be purchased at $1,099.99, a $100 savings, from Adorama or B&H Photo.

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iPads and iPhones

Target is currently offering a $100 Target gift card for customers who purchase an iPad Air or a Retina iPad mini (WiFi or WiFi + Cellular) in any capacity. Though Target is charging full price at $499 and $399, respectively, the gift card is a good deal for regular Target customers.

Target is also offering a $20 Target gift card with the purchase of a 16GB iPhone 5s or 5c. The iPhone 5c is available from Target for $30 and the iPhone 5s is $100. Target's deals last through July 12.

Accessories

Jawbone's Jambox speaker can be purchased via Groupon for $89, a discount of $21, while Meh.com is offering the JBL OnBeat Micro Speaker dock for $15. The Apple TV is available for $89 through Best Buy, a $10 discount.

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Apps

This week marks the sixth anniversary of the App Store, and several developers are offering sales on their apps. Popular games like Threesand Monument Valley are available at low prices, so make sure to check out our anniversary post to get a look at all the deals.

Before making a purchase of a Mac or iOS device, make sure to consult our Buyer's Guide to find out if it's a good time to buy. For example, because the MacBook Air was updated in April, the Buyer's Guide indicates that now is a good time to purchase.

MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors.

Apple Joins White House 'SupplierPay' Program to Speed Payments for Small Businesses [Updated]

Apple, Coca-Cola and other high-profile companies across various sectors have agreed to participate in SupplierPay, a new White House initiative designed to accelerate payments for smaller firms in the company's supply chain. President Barack Obama is expected to announce the program and early adopters later today, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The program will "strengthen small businesses by increasing their working capital, so they can grow their businesses and hire more workers," the White House said in a statement.
SupplierPay is the private sector counterpart of the government's existing QuickPay program that pays small business contractors before larger ones. Under QuickPay, businesses typically receive payment within two weeks of a completed project or service.

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Apple in recent years has focused on supply chain issues, working to curb excessive overtime, underage workers and harsh working conditions in its supplier factories. The Cupertino company requires its suppliers to meet a code of conduct, routinely monitors its contract manufacturers for compliance with these fair labor practices and issues an annual Supplier Responsibility report to document its progress.

Update 5:00 PM PT: Following a meeting with President Obama, Apple Senior Vice President of Operations Jeff Williams gave a statement noting that Apple spent more than $3 billion with over 7,000 suppliers running small businesses in 2013 using SupplierPay.

Companies involved with the SupplierPay project included Metal Impact, a company that manufactures the Mac Pro's enclosure. The Mac Pro has been highlighted by Apple as a product line assembled in the United States.

Apple Seeds New Versions of Safari for Mavericks and Mountain Lion to Developers

safarilogoApple today seeded developers with new versions of Safari for OS X Mavericks (Safari 7.1) and OS X Mountain Lion (Safari 6.2) to parallel continued work on OS X Yosemite. In particular, Apple is asking developers to test general website and extension compatibility for several reasons.
Please test general website compatibility.
- Subpixel rendering is now on by default for all web content. Web sites or in-app web views with extremely tight design constraints may render differently.
- CSS object model getters will return fractional double values based on subpixel layout and rendering metrics instead of rounded integral values.

Please test extension compatibility.
Apple also documents several new WebKit features included in the new versions of Safari including support for WebGL, which allows users to view 3D content without plug-ins. WebGL has been present in Safari for OS X for several years, but is disabled by default. It's clear, however, that Apple is looking to take WebGL mainstream, pushing development on OS X Safari and bringing it to Safari for iOS later this year with iOS 8.

Update: Many non-developers are reporting that the Safari 7.1 beta is even showing up for them in the Mac App Store update section.

Apple Forcing Users to Upgrade to Latest Adobe Flash Plug-In Due to Security Issues

new_flashlogo_3Apple today posted an updated support document noting that it is now blocking older version of the Adobe's Flash Player plug-in due to a major security issue present in older versions.

In a posting to its security mailing list, Apple notes that users must upgrade to the latest 14.0.0.145 version of Flash Player if possible. For those users running systems incompatible with Flash Player 14, Adobe has made available a 13.0.0.231 update that addresses the security issues.
APPLE-SA-2014-07-10-1 OS X: Flash Player plug-in blocked

Due to security issues in older versions, Apple has updated the web plug-in blocking mechanism to disable all versions prior to Flash Player 14.0.0.145 and 13.0.0.231.
The high-priority update was released by Adobe on Tuesday to fix an issue disclosed in a proof-of-concept exploit by Google engineer Michele Spagnuolo. A number of major sites including Google, YouTube, Twitter, and Tumblr were vulnerable to the issue, although they quickly addressed the issue on their ends. With Adobe's update to Flash Player itself, users will no longer be vulnerable as long as they update their plug-ins, a move Apple is now strongly encouraging by blocking all older versions of the plug-in.

Apple Opening Retail Store in Edinburgh, Scotland Soon

Apple this morning unveiled an artistic multi-colored barrier around its forthcoming location in Edinburgh, Scotland, signaling that it will soon open its first store in the country's capital city, reports the Edinburgh Evening News (via ifoAppleStore).

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The store will be located on the historic Princes Street, with inside sources saying that the location's opening is "imminent." Based on the similar patterns of the Madrid Apple Store before its opening, ifoAppleStore's Gary Allen believes that the location could open on August 2nd.

The Princes Street store will also join Apple's other locations in Scotland, which include the existing Braehead store and the company's Buchanan Street location in Glasgow. The new location will also be Apple's 38th in the United Kingdom since the company first opened a shop on London's Regent Street in 2004.

Apple Now Allowed to Trademark Apple Store Layout in Europe

Apple is now allowed to register the layout of its retail stores as a trademark in Europe following a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union, reports The Wall Street Journal.

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The EU's top court said Thursday that Apple's flagship stores fulfilled the three criteria for a trade mark: they constitute a sign; they can be represented in a graphic; and they can distinguish the goods or services sold by one company from those of another
The company was originally awarded a trademark for its store design in the U.S. last year, and has been actively trying to extend it to the rest of the world ever since. Prior to the ruling, Germany's patent office ruled that the particular layout of a shop cannot be qualified as a trademark, which Apple then challenged.

Currently, Apple has a total of 425 retail stores worldwide. 89 of those retail locations are spread out across Europe, and are found in countries including the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and the Netherlands.

Vimeo Revamps Apple TV Channel With Streamlined Interface, Staff Favorites, and More

Video site Vimeo today announced a revamp of its Apple TV channel, simplifying the interface, launching a new "Staff Favorites" monthly feature, and making several other enhancements. The updates focus on improving video discovery and reducing the number of clicks it takes to access videos.

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Simplified navigation

We took our old menu, cut it down to the essentials, and put it at the top of the screen for easy access. Discover awesome videos, keep up with your feed, tackle your Watch Later queue, and quickly get to your own videos, likes, and collections.

Watch our favorites

Don’t have time to watch every single Staff Pick? Our monthly Staff Favorites Albums highlight the best of the best. We’ve also added the winners of our Vimeo Weekend Challenges and a bunch of curated Channels so you can watch tons of amazing videos right away.
Vimeo is also featuring its growing On Demand trailer library, which integrates with the service's Watch Later queue to make it easy to access content across devices. Enhanced Video Detail pages also include background images and additional metadata such as audience ratings and reviews.

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Content providers are increasingly embracing Apple TV as a platform for distributing their content, with roughly 40 channels now available, although many of the services are currently limited to the United States or just a handful of other countries. Vimeo, however, is available worldwide for Apple TV users.

Related roundup: Apple TV

Former Apple SVP Ron Johnson Recounts Early Days of Apple Retail Stores

Former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson spoke earlier this year at his alma mater Stanford University and talked about the early years of Apple retail stores (via ifoAppleStore). Johnson oversaw the development of the Apple Store and is credited with creating the company's distinctive retail experience.


After joining Apple in 2000, Johnson was given complete control over the company's retail project by then-CEO Steve Jobs. The first Apple Stores featured high-speed Internet connections to attract new customers and were originally designed to create a sense of community among Apple users, not necessarily sell products.
“It was a pure play,” Johnson said of the store design. “There was really no compromise on any of the intuition. And I think that’s how the Apple stores connected (with visitors).” Even today, he said, people go to the stores, “just to go. They don’t go to buy. There are so many reasons to come.”
Johnson joined Apple as Senior Vice President of Retail Operations in January 2000 and remained in that role until 2011, when he departed for a CEO position at J.C. Penney. Under his leadership, Apple's retail operations exploded, generating over a $1 billion in annual sales within two years and eventually leading all U.S. retailers in terms of monetary sales per square foot.

Johnson was succeeded by Dixons' John Browett, who served as Apple's retail chief for a short seven months. Apple's retail operations, which now include 425 retail stores in 16 countries worldwide, are now under the leadership of former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, who joined Apple earlier this year. Ahrendts is best known for her transformation of Burberry from a struggling retailer into a global fashion powerhouse.

Apple to Open New Retail Store in Basel, Switzerland on July 12

Apple will open its newest retail store in Basel, Switzerland on Saturday, July 12 at Freie Strasse, a shopping area famous in Basel. The shopping street has a number of high end stores and restaurants, with Apple opening at building number 47.

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The Basel store will join three other Apple retail locations in Switzerland, located in Geneva, Zurich, and Wallisellen. The store, which has been under construction for quite a few months, is said to be approximately 900 square meters and three stories.

Apple's new Basel Apple Store will open at 10 a.m. local time on Saturday, where employees will likely hand out T-shirts to the first customers. The store has already begun accepting reservations for workshops and Genius Bar appointments.

Apple Strikes Deal for Third Solar Farm at North Carolina Data Center

Apple has struck a deal for a new 100-acre solar farm near its Maiden, North Carolina data center, the third such farm providing energy for the facility, reports the Hickory Daily Record. According to the report, Apple will be making an initial investment of $55 million in the solar farm, which will generate 17.5 megawatts of power.
Apple plans to have a grading permit submitted for the property by the end of the year, pending acquisition of the land and other terms of the development agreement. If everything else goes according to plan, the farm is projected to be completed within five years of the commencement date.
Apple's North Carolina data center is the first in a series of significant data center projects the company has undertaken in recent years, with Apple also working on centers in Oregon and Nevada. Under its promise to run its data centers on 100% renewable energy, Apple has been investing heavily in energy sources such as solar and biogas while purchasing other types of renewable energy from suppliers.

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The North Carolina data center was joined by a 20-megawatt solar farm across the street by late 2012, and Apple has also been developing a second 20-megawatt solar farm a few miles away. The data center is also powered by a biogas fuel cell facility that began as a 4.8-megawatt project but was later expanded to 10 megawatts.

Apple's exact plans for this third solar farm are unclear, as the five-year planning horizon suggests it may be part of a longer-term vision for the site. The current data center primarily consists of a massive 500,000 square-foot building, but plans presented by Apple during the project's development depicted a second building of equal size ultimately being constructed next door. Apple's timeline for any expansion of that magnitude for the data center itself remain unknown.