Apple's plans for a 500,000-square-foot data center in Maiden, North Carolina appear more ambitious then ever.

John Paczkowski of reports Apple owns more than 70 acres across the street from the 183 acres it already has earmarked for the data center. The information is provided by the Catawba County Geospatial Information Services.

While some observers claim the additional acres will be used for office space, Paczkowski has doubts. "Sources tell me that Apple is considering doubling the size of its Maiden data center operations, and architectural renderings posted to a Catawba County, N.C., Flickr page that show two structures side by side suggest this may have been the plan all along."

Paczkowski speculates Apple's plans for the cloud could likely be more ambitious than first thought. "Are Apple’s plans for the cloud so grand and its road map so clear that the company has already set the stage for further data center expansion by buying this lot across the street?"

Apple's Maiden data center is rumoured to open before Christmas, and will be significantly larger than the company's current data center in Newark, California.

Apple has long been predicted to offer cloud based services, including music and film streaming, sooner than later.