Hitachi Drive in iPod Mini

Discussion in 'MacRumors News Discussion (archive)' started by MacRumors, Jan 7, 2004.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001
    After significant speculation on what storage technology would be used the new Mini iPods, CNet reports 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 was just introduced on Monday.
  2. iomar macrumors 6502

    Dec 28, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    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.
  3. dr_lha macrumors 68000

    Oct 8, 2003
    Microdrives are not cheap - I guess this is why we have the $249 price tag.
  4. sparks9 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2003
    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?
  5. idkew macrumors 68020


    Sep 26, 2001
    where the concrete to dirt ratio is better
    At $70 for the 2GB version, I wonder if Apple can put together a $100-$150 Mini Pod?
  6. dr_lha macrumors 68000

    Oct 8, 2003
    Here is a link to a place selling these drives:Link. At $499 this makes the iPod mini look like a huge bargain.
  7. Gizmotoy macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2003
    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.

    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.
  8. sparks9 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2003
    That's crazy... Apple must have gotten a VERY good deal from hitachi. Maybe thay ordered a million of them?
  9. brhmac macrumors regular

    Apr 21, 2003
    Planet Earth
    Thanks for the luminous-landscape link


    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.
  10. Gizmotoy macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2003
    For those interested, here are the specs on the MK4-2 and MK4-4 drives in the new iPod minis:

    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.
  11. jettredmont macrumors 68030

    Jul 25, 2002


    Go to and look it up.

    Fsckin' amazing Apple is selling these for $249.

    [edit: $500, not $400 ... :) ]
  12. crossed-over macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2002
  13. jettredmont macrumors 68030

    Jul 25, 2002
    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 ...
  14. hayesk macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2003
    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.
  15. iggyb macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2003
    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.
  16. sw1tcher macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    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.
  17. iChan macrumors 6502a


    Jan 12, 2003
    Dublin, Ireland.
    i want iLife 04! I want ipod mini...

    man, why must europeans be punished so?
  18. nighthawk macrumors regular

    Jan 3, 2003

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

    Half Price!!
  19. Lanbrown macrumors 6502a

    Mar 20, 2003
    You get a dock with the 20GB.
  20. Nicky G macrumors 6502a

    Nicky G

    Mar 24, 2002
    Baltimore & NYC
    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. ;)
  21. acj macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2003
    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
  22. shamino macrumors 68040


    Jan 7, 2004
    Purcellville, VA
    This explains quite a bit

    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.
  23. ITR 81 macrumors 65816

    Oct 24, 2003
    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.
  24. iMook macrumors regular

    Mar 7, 2003
    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?
  25. nighthawk macrumors regular

    Jan 3, 2003
    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:

    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!

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