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Apr 12, 2001
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According to Electronista, recent court filings suggest that IBM may be concerned that Mark Papermaster could transmit knowledge about an upcoming IBM memory technology to Apple. Papermaster is the former IBM chip designer that recently accepted a job at Apple which triggered a lawsuit from IBM over a non-compete agreement.

The memory technology called "racetrack" memory was previously detailed in a Times Online article:Scientists at IBM say they have developed a new type of digital storage which would enable a device such as an MP3 player to store about half a million songs - or 3,500 films - and cost far less to produce.The new technology is said to require much less power and could run on a single battery charge for "weeks at a time." The technology, however, was described as "exploratory" just earlier this year and end-user products weren't expected for 10 years.

It's unclear how involved Papermaster was in the development of this technology, and how serious a concern this is for IBM. Papermaster was IBM's vice president of microprocessor technology development prior to his departure.

Update: ZDNet reports the connection between Papermaster and "racetrack" memory is very tenuous at best.

Article Link: IBM's Lawsuit Against Papermaster Over 'Racetrack' Memory? [Update]
 

itcheroni

macrumors 6502a
Sep 23, 2005
550
1
CA
I'm confused. Will this just be an incredibly large drive? What comes after terabytes?
 
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arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,703
4,552
I'm confused. Will this just be an incredibly large drive? What comes after terabytes?

from http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article3728060.ece

So-called 'racetrack' memory uses the 'spin' of an electron to store data, and can operate far more quickly than regular hard drives.

"The promise of racetrack memory - for example, the ability to carry massive amounts of information in your pocket - could unleash creativity leading to devices and applications that nobody has imagined yet," Stuart Parkin, the IBM fellow who led the research, said.

I'm not sure how big a concern this is for IBM. Based on his job desc, it doesn't seem like he would have been involved in this, but I don't have the court documents.

arn
 
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sammich

macrumors 601
Sep 26, 2006
4,299
266
Sarcasmville.
So is this 500 000 songs like the songs they advertised on the early MP3/WMA/ATRAC players? Songs encoded at 32kbps? Or the real deal like Apple does it, about 5 megs a song? So where is the 2.5 terabyte iPhone then?

I'm confused. Will this just be an incredibly large drive? What comes after terabytes?

Large, as in bits and bytes.

Kilo, Mega, Giga, Tera, Peta...wiki
 
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applecow

macrumors member
May 23, 2007
34
0
I'm confused. Will this just be an incredibly large drive? What comes after terabytes?

Doesn't sound like it if it will fit inside an iPod. If Papermaster is a genius at chip design, what could be possibly know about storage?
 
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Bevz

macrumors 6502a
Oct 23, 2007
816
137
UK
I'm confused. Will this just be an incredibly large drive? What comes after terabytes?

Petabyte.

If true then it sounds like they've managed to create a type of storage that has huge capacity at very low power.... Because they're talking of mp3 players then i assume the storage isn't truly random access and instead is optomised for streaming type uses, also the name "Racetrack" suggests circular one-way linear storage.

This however is pure guesswork!
 
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sammich

macrumors 601
Sep 26, 2006
4,299
266
Sarcasmville.
Doesn't sound like it if it will fit inside an iPod. If Papermaster is a genius at chip design, what could be possibly know about storage?

Why wouldn't it fit inside an iPod? Just about every technology can be shrunk down to fit in anything. Besides, this technology is akin to flash memory or solid state memory, meaning you can make it fit whatever size or shape you want it, which is why they used the iPod as an example device that would use it.

If true then it sounds like they've managed to create a type of storage that has huge capacity at very low power.... Because they're talking of mp3 players then i assume the storage isn't truly random access and instead is optomised for streaming type uses, also the name "Racetrack" suggests circular one-way linear storage.

This however is pure guesswork!

You should probably have read the article then.

Lets just say you were correct in the assumption of 'linear access'. Couldn't you then say that it was linear in the sense of reading a single bit? The racetrack could be the magnetism surrounding a single bit recording medium.
 
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applecow

macrumors member
May 23, 2007
34
0
Why wouldn't it fit inside an iPod? Just about every technology can be shrunk down to fit in anything. Besides, this technology is akin to flash memory or solid state memory, meaning you can make it fit whatever size or shape you want it, which is why they used the iPod as an example device that would use it.

Oops, I misread your initial post for "incredibly large" as a modifier for physical size.

Anyway, I'm not so sure that this technology is all that "unique." What I mean is that it doesn't seem like a sue-able idea in that given the exponential rate of increasing storage size within the last decade, I'm not so certain that within the next 10 years, this is the going to be the absolute best. At the rate of growth we are in for technology, it is very likely that within the next ten years, something similar would be naturally developed as a result of necessity or maybe something even better.

IBM should just give up.
 
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the vj

macrumors 6502a
Nov 23, 2006
654
0
Hey guys listen...

In 10 years!!! 10 YEARS!!! now, lets go back to bed...
 
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sgntscrawn

macrumors member
Feb 26, 2008
67
0
Adelaide, Australia
This sounds really cool. Hopefully this not only means that we can fit more songs - but that we can fit more better quality songs on tomorrow's iPods - because come on, who has 500,000 songs in their iTunes library?

Good old wikipedia tells us of the "yottabyte" here. Imagine that - "The all new iPod. Half a million songs. 5 yottabyte memory. In your pocket." hehe.

And don't doubt this is possible, either - just think how ludicrous an MP3 device with a storage capacity of up to 1,000 songs in a pocketable size would've sounded in 1991 - 10 years before Apple came out with the iPod.
 
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johnmcboston

macrumors 6502
Sep 16, 2005
396
5
Boston
I understand the need for NDAs and the worry about company secrets. But some of these agreements are so vague it wounds like this guy wouldn't work anywhere except a McDonalds... If you're a tech guy and change jobs, you're going to stay in your field. hello.
 
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fleshman03

macrumors 68000
May 27, 2008
1,845
0
Sioux City, IA
That's probably one of the most insightful comments I've seen here on MR recently. It's definitely the most insightful comment in this thread.

FWIW, IANAL but I am sure IBM will never defeat the PAPERMASTER, unless they hire someone called SCISSORMASTER.

I totally just cracked up in front of people while reading that. Thanks!

YottaByte. If you ever needed to count that high, the "Force will be with you."
 
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