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MacRumors
Jan 7, 2004, 12:04 PM
After significant speculation on what storage technology would be used the new Mini iPods, CNet reports (http://news.com.com/2100-1041-5136124.html) that Apple is now using a 1" 4GB Hitachi drive for its new iPods.

As CNet notes, "the process of elimination is also fairly straightforward on this issue, because there are only three companies with product plans in this area." (Note: Hitachi's microdrive technology was acquired from IBM in 2002)

Apple's standard iPods have used a 1.8" hard drive from Toshiba. Hitachi has recently introduced a similar 1.8" drive which is used in the Dell DJ. Toshiba will be manufacturing 0.8" drives but these will not see full production until 2005. This simply leaves Cornice as the final manufacturer of these mini drives. Their 2.0GB storage device (http://www.macrumors.com/pages/2004/01/20040105151253.shtml) was just introduced on Monday.

iomar
Jan 7, 2004, 12:10 PM
Well, I hope that apple uses 2.0GB storage devices when they revise their mini ipods. I think the price of $249 is just to much for 4GB ipods.

dr_lha
Jan 7, 2004, 12:11 PM
Microdrives are not cheap - I guess this is why we have the $249 price tag.

sparks9
Jan 7, 2004, 12:12 PM
So they didn't use two 2 gb cornise drives after all.

BTW: does anyone know how much such a 4 gb hitashi drive costs?

idkew
Jan 7, 2004, 12:12 PM
At $70 for the 2GB version, I wonder if Apple can put together a $100-$150 Mini Pod?

dr_lha
Jan 7, 2004, 12:15 PM
Here is a link to a place selling these drives:Link (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=302870&is=REG). At $499 this makes the iPod mini look like a huge bargain.

Gizmotoy
Jan 7, 2004, 12:16 PM
After some quick searching, I found that the Hitachi drive was going for around $500 (retail) as of November. So at $249, the iPod mini is actually pretty impressive price-wise for the components they used. Unfortunately, I wish they had used something else.

http://luminous-landscape.com/reviews/accessories/4gb-hitachi.shtml

Perhaps, in a nod to the future, the article mentions that Hitachi also makes a 2GB model. Maybe they could make the $150 to $200 price point with that.

sparks9
Jan 7, 2004, 12:22 PM
That's crazy... Apple must have gotten a VERY good deal from hitachi. Maybe thay ordered a million of them?

brhmac
Jan 7, 2004, 12:23 PM
Hey,

Thanks for the link to lumnious-landscape.

Nice info and perspective on the Hitachi drive.

BTW -- We need to remember NOT to confuse the retail price of the hard drive in question for Apple's wholesale price. Especially given the volume of units they'll buy.

Gizmotoy
Jan 7, 2004, 12:33 PM
For those interested, here are the specs on the MK4-2 and MK4-4 drives in the new iPod minis:

http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/micro/micro3k4.htm

And according to Amazon the price of the MK4-2 (2GB version) is $349... meaning its a full $150 cheaper than the 4GB version. Given this, I wouldn't be all that surprised to see a 2GB version at some point, hitting the $150-200 price point everyone wants to see.

Since these drives have been around the photography circles for a couple months, anyone familiar with them? In particular, the most interesting would be their resiliance to shock and such. Perhaps these things really could withstand a good jog.

jettredmont
Jan 7, 2004, 12:38 PM
Originally posted by sparks9
So they didn't use two 2 gb cornise drives after all.

BTW: does anyone know how much such a 4 gb hitashi drive costs?

Retail?

$500.

Go to PriceGrabber.com and look it up.

Fsckin' amazing Apple is selling these for $249.

[edit: $500, not $400 ... :) ]

crossed-over
Jan 7, 2004, 12:51 PM
How about Hitachi:)

jettredmont
Jan 7, 2004, 12:52 PM
Originally posted by Gimzotoy
And according to Amazon the price of the MK4-2 (2GB version) is $349... meaning its a full $150 cheaper than the 4GB version. Given this, I wouldn't be all that surprised to see a 2GB version at some point, hitting the $150-200 price point everyone wants to see.


There is obviously a lot of first-mover pricing in the 4GB drives. If Apple can sell a device based on the drive for half the price of the drive itself (and you know Apple isn't losing money here!) then there is at least 100% markup from Hitachi. Guessing $50 in extra materials and $30 in profit for Apple, the Hitachi production costs for the 4GB have got to be closer to $170, which gives more like a 194% markup on retail (call it 200%).

That having been said, the 2GB version has a lot more competition in the market, not the least from Cornice. It can't afford a 200% markup in the face of two other suppliers. On the other hand, its production costs shouldn't be "more" than the 4GB version (unless it is in such low quantities that scale matters). So, it costs at most $170 to produce, and sells at at least a 100% markup to get $350. If we said it has a 150% markup instead of 100%, that still brings the cost of production only down to $140. That's a savings of $30 to Apple.

Would you buy a 2GB iPod Mini for $219?

IMHO, going 2GB Apple would have to go with a cheaper supplier, or the consumer would get no price advantage for giving up half their space. I am frankly a bit surprised that they didn't use two Cornice drives with a controller to allow spanning across them. If Hitachi was cheaper than Cornice then it means their 4GB price was $140 or less ... which I doubt. I suspect Apple went for simplicity of design and production capacity.

All IMHO of course ...

hayesk
Jan 7, 2004, 12:53 PM
Let's not get into another battle on how cheap an iPod could be.

We know that there are 2GB and 4GB drives available, and we know they retail for a lot more than the price of the mini. What we don't know is the price Apple would pay for 2GB or 4GB drives from the vendors.

What I would say is probable is that the price Apple would pay for a 2GB is not $100 less (or even $50) than what they pay for the 4GB drives.

Factor that in with the cost of the rest of the iPod electronics, and I still fail to see how they could make it much cheaper than what it is now.

iggyb
Jan 7, 2004, 01:03 PM
I was under the impression that these were solid-state drives. Are these spinning hard drives, like the current iPod models?

If that's the case, I still hope they release something like a flash-based player, for workouts and other activities that might jar the player a lot.

sw1tcher
Jan 7, 2004, 01:10 PM
Originally posted by dr_lha
Microdrives are not cheap - I guess this is why we have the $249 price tag.

Agreed. But I just can't help feeling that if they put the price at $229 or $239, then it would make it a really good deal. I mean, $239 is much closer to $199 than $249. It's all about peoples perceptions, especially when they're comparig the iPod mini vs. other MP3 players.

Besides, they're selling them academically for $229, which I believe still gives Apple a fairly good profit margin.

Oh well. Now to decide: $229 for the iPod mini, or $269 for the 15GB iPod? (academic pricing, of course). Most likely, I'll probably just get the 15GB, though the 20GB is also tempting.

iChan
Jan 7, 2004, 01:10 PM
i want iLife 04! I want ipod mini...

man, why must europeans be punished so?

nighthawk
Jan 7, 2004, 01:33 PM
Microdrive?

At $249, I might just buy an iPod mini, tear it apart and use the microdrive in my Digital Camera!!!

Half Price!!

Lanbrown
Jan 7, 2004, 01:55 PM
Originally posted by sw1tcher
Most likely, I'll probably just get the 15GB, though the 20GB is also tempting.

You get a dock with the 20GB.

Nicky G
Jan 7, 2004, 02:02 PM
Originally posted by nighthawk
Microdrive?

At $249, I might just buy an iPod mini, tear it apart and use the microdrive in my Digital Camera!!!

Half Price!!

Or you could just use that memory card reader accessory already released for iPods (the mini ought to support it just fine).

Sure it may not be the fastest, but at least it would work. ;)

acj
Jan 7, 2004, 02:40 PM
I'd love an ipod with a CFI/II slot. It already has the drive, why not make it removeable. They could sell the thing without memory for $99. It would be nice to be able to use the memory for two things

shamino
Jan 7, 2004, 02:52 PM
Given that the Hitachi drive uses a CompactFlash form factor, it now explains why the rumors surrounding the mini-iPod were so confused about the media type. Some were saying hard drive and some were saying flash memory.

Obviously, some of the people leaking the rumor saw the Compact Flash interface and concluded "flash memory" without considering the possibility of a hard drive.

ITR 81
Jan 7, 2004, 03:20 PM
This should kill the crap about it being overpriced now.

Think about this the Rio Nitrus uses the Corince*sp* 4GB HD which is cheaper but sells it at $249

Apple uses a Mircodrive that retails around $500 but sells it in a package for $249.

Now who is actually getting a better deal?? Apple.

iMook
Jan 7, 2004, 04:10 PM
The new Rio Nitrus will use a 4GB Cornice drive? Cornice only just publicly announced a 2GB drive. Oh well, maybe something in development, or just under wraps.

...dual drives?

nighthawk
Jan 7, 2004, 04:29 PM
Originally posted by Nicky G
Or you could just use that memory card reader accessory already released for iPods (the mini ought to support it just fine).

Sure it may not be the fastest, but at least it would work. ;)

That was one of the first things I looked at when the Apple website came back up to date. According to the Apple website, the iPod mini does *not* work with the Belkin Media Reader:

http://www.apple.com/ipod/accessories.html

And even if it could support the Belkin Media Reader, then I would just pay the extra $50 for the 15 GB iPod.

No, the point is that even though the Hitachi 4 GB drive only came out this past November and is $500 (street price!). I currently have two 256 MB flash cards, and a lot of time is wasted as I dump them to the computer. The iPod would be the same thing... what I need is a larger CF, and the 4 GB Hitachi Microdrive would be perfect.

Now if I could only figure out how to open the iPod mini case and replace it with one of my 256 MB CF cards, I would have one of those "$199" MP3 players Steve Jobs was talking about, and a 4 GB Microdrive to boot!

bennetsaysargh
Jan 7, 2004, 04:45 PM
steve said that they're going after the higher end flash market with the minis, so why does it have a HD?

arn
Jan 7, 2004, 04:48 PM
Originally posted by ITR 81

Think about this the Rio Nitrus uses the Corince*sp* 4GB HD which is cheaper but sells it at $249


The original Rio Nitrus (1.5GB) uses the Cornice 1.5GB drive.

It's unknown what drive the Rio Nitrus (4GB) uses.

arn

nighthawk
Jan 7, 2004, 05:09 PM
Originally posted by iMook
The new Rio Nitrus will use a 4GB Cornice drive? Cornice only just publicly announced a 2GB drive. Oh well, maybe something in development, or just under wraps.

...dual drives?

I would guess this, yes. It would cost Rio $140 or less for the 4 GB twin drives. Another possibility is that Cornice has another model which uses two platters instead of the single platter, but would be 50%? thicker than the 2 GB one.

I was comparing at the specs between the Hitachi Microdrive and the Cornice drive and noticed something interesting... even though the physical external drive casing measures exactly the same size, the Microdrive includes the CF connectors within that area. The Cornice drive uses an external ribbon for connectivity making it useless as a Compact Flash device (I wish it wasn't!). This means that Cornice has at least 5.5mm more space in order to fit the hard drive platter. This means that they do not need to have as high of a density to get the 2 GB and is another reason why it is much cheaper than the Hitachi Microdrive.

I do feel better about purchasing the iPod mini because of the proven track record of these 1" drives from Hitachi. They have been used in professional settings (digital pro SLR cameras) for approx. three years.

rdowns
Jan 7, 2004, 07:03 PM
Originally posted by iChan
i want iLife 04! I want ipod mini...

man, why must europeans be punished so?

I think it's time for the Top 10 MacRumors Bitches and Moans:

1. No G5 PowerBook
2. No speed bump PowerMacs
3. No sub $100 iPod
4. $49 for iLife- blasphemy
5. Why does Apple ignore ___ (insert foreign country here)
6. No sub $200 iPod
7. No G5 iMac
8.

:D

Looks like I need some help finishing the list..

ethernet76
Jan 7, 2004, 09:23 PM
Originally posted by Lanbrown
You get a dock with the 20GB.

ooOOOOOOOoooo a piece of plastic with metal.

pbreit
Jan 7, 2004, 10:35 PM
I think there's a pretty good chance that Apple will put out a Cornice-based 2GB mini by this summer for $199 or even slightly less.

You've gotta think that after using a 2 or 4 GB iPod for a bit that half the people would upgrade to a 20+ GB.

The $99 rumors were so preposterous. Apple has never been and should never be that aggressive with pricing. Apple is actually pretty decent at creating the product roadmap. It's got the color thing down: start with one color, bring out multi-color. It roadmapped the iPod with hard drive increases. Now it will roadmap the mini with a hard drive decreases. It's all very savvy.

pbreit
Jan 7, 2004, 10:39 PM
The only idiot who thought it was going to be a Flash drive was anal-yst Rob Enderle.

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=4039425

Anyone with half a brain can easily see that Flash memory is prohibitively expensive and obviously unnecessary.

idkew
Jan 7, 2004, 10:39 PM
Originally posted by ethernet76
ooOOOOOOOoooo a piece of plastic with metal.

you obviously do not have an ipod.

SiliconAddict
Jan 8, 2004, 12:13 AM
Well there's the reason for the $249 price tag. I wonder how much each unit cost in bulk. If it was similar to the quoted $70 per drive for the Cornice drive.

SiliconAddict
Jan 8, 2004, 12:23 AM
Originally posted by nighthawk


I do feel better about purchasing the iPod mini because of the proven track record of these 1" drives from Hitachi. They have been used in professional settings (digital pro SLR cameras) for approx. three years.


You shouldn't. The microdrive has only been out 3 years. I picked up one of the first gen MDs when they came out. Within a year I had it replaced 3 times under warrantee. I hang around www.pocketpcthoughts.com 's forum and there are plenty of unhappy MD users to date. Finally I lead a Pocket PC user group and there have been more then a few users who have had their 1GB MD die on them. These drives aren't all that reliable yet. I fear there is the possibility of many an iPod mini user may have their device die on them in a year or so. That's when bad sectors started creeping up in my drive.

MediaBaron
Jan 8, 2004, 02:14 AM
As a professional photographer that still uses the IBM Microdrive, 1GB flavor, it should be mentioned that IBM stated that the microdrives should not be used above an altitude of about 10,000ft. Here in Hawaii we have a pair of mountain peaks about 13,000ft and I've read reports of head crashes with the microdrives with loss of data. The air is just too thin for the heads to float above the tiny platters with enough clearance. I'm guessing the same is true of the mini iPod (maybe even the regular ones).

Note that airliners are pressurized to an apparent 9,000ft so it should not pose a problem to use a microdrive while flying (unless you're in an unpressurized cabin, heaven forbid).

shamino
Jan 8, 2004, 08:48 AM
Originally posted by bennetsaysargh
steve said that they're going after the higher end flash market with the minis, so why does it have a HD?

According to PriceWatch, 2G Compact Flash memory cards cost between around $200 and $800. You'll need two of these to produce 4G of storage.

Would you want to pay for that?

idkew
Jan 8, 2004, 10:58 AM
Originally posted by shamino
According to PriceWatch, 2G Compact Flash memory cards cost between around $200 and $800. You'll need two of these to produce 4G of storage.

Would you want to pay for that?

remember, prices are MUCH cheaper when you but in the hundreds of thousands.

nighthawk
Jan 8, 2004, 01:07 PM
Originally posted by MediaBaron
As a professional photographer that still uses the IBM Microdrive, 1GB flavor, it should be mentioned that IBM stated that the microdrives should not be used above an altitude of about 10,000ft. Here in Hawaii we have a pair of mountain peaks about 13,000ft and I've read reports of head crashes with the microdrives with loss of data. The air is just too thin for the heads to float above the tiny platters with enough clearance. I'm guessing the same is true of the mini iPod (maybe even the regular ones).

You must live on the Big Island!

I have read/heard that Microdrives are not as reliable as the solid-state CF cards. I did not hear about the 10,000 limit though.

However, I feel better about the reliability of the IBM/Hitachi drive as opposed to a Cornice-based drive.

bennetsaysargh
Jan 8, 2004, 01:59 PM
Originally posted by ethernet76
ooOOOOOOOoooo a piece of plastic with metal.

and a remote. the dock and the remote are both very useful. that and you get the carrying case and a 4 to 6 pin FW adapter. sure you might not use it for your iPod, but it came in handy with my DV camera when i couldn't find the right cord.