MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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With the rumors of cheap 2GB iPods floating around, many are asking what storage technology could be used in the new devices. Traditional hard drives and flash memory appear to be too expensive at this time.

One reader points out that a company called Cornice has been producing 1inch 1.5GB Hard Drives since mid year that go for $65/each in lots of 10,000. Cornice was reportedly trying to get these prices down to $50.
 

CheekyGit

macrumors member
Oct 9, 2002
40
0
Alabama
Sound good but.....

Apple will charge an arm and a leg for the Mini-iPod.

If it's $50-$65 for the mini-drive, then Apple will probably price at around $150-$200 for the final product.

Gotta keep those profits rollin' in somewhere.....certainly not from ITMS.

Thanks but no thanks.
 
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DTphonehome

macrumors 68000
Apr 4, 2003
1,814
2,598
NYC
Seems reasonable

That Cnet article is from June. So, it is quite likely that the capacities have incresed to 2GB and 4GB since then. If Apple is betting on huge sales from this (and judging from iPod sales, it's a safe bet), they could have negotiated a very low price by placing a huge order. I would not be surprised if this drive, or one similar to it, is found in the upcoming iPod.

--DT
 
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Scott Laird

macrumors newbie
Feb 10, 2003
4
0
Cornice's drives have been kinda missing from the market

The only place that I've seen Cornice drives is the Rio Nitrus ($220 or so), even though they've allegedly been shipping for most of a year and Cornice can't keep up with demand. That implies that they're either having production problems or someone (not necessarily Apple) is stockpiling them for a big product rollout.

Unless I'm mistaken, most of the Toshiba 1.8" drives used in full-sized iPods weren't actually announced by Toshiba until after Apple started shipping them. So, this could be a new vendor or new product that hasn't really been announced yet. If I had to bet, I'd say Hitachi, simply because they have products in the right size range as the rumors, and it wouldn't kill them to build a less-robust microdrive in a circuit-board mountable formfactor instead of the CF format that they use now. I don't know if they could get prices under $100, though.

OTOH, the 5 GB drive in the original iPod listed for $400, and Apple was able to sell the whole package for $399.

IMHO, a <$200 iPod, even with a ~1 GB drive would be competitive in the market, and might actually increase sales of the higher-end products. It'd make a huge dent in the mid-to-high end flash MP3 market.
 
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SiliconAddict

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2003
5,889
0
Chicago, IL
Quality?

Price aside. I had the first gen of the Microdrives. Replaced 3 of them under warrantee. I moderate a Pocket PC user group along with a Pocket PC discussion board and I can't count the number of dissatisfied Microdrive owners who have had bad sectors go on them or others who have had drives just plain crap out on them. My concern is the quality of these drives. These micro-hard drives are really new tech. I'd be seriously concerned with failed drives on something so new. It wouldn’t help Apple's rep if these things fly off the shelf only to have the consumer have problems 6 months down the road.
 
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brandon6684

Guest
Dec 30, 2002
538
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Assuming that Apple could get 2GB versions for $50 a piece and sell them for about $99 to $149, they would kill similar priced flash players that only hold around 128 to 512 MB.
 
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ITR 81

macrumors 65816
Oct 24, 2003
1,052
0
I figure they would've ran into bugs already since they've been out to other companies for like 6 months now.

I believe they could still be with Toshiba.
A good relationship in Japan normally means the owners are more then likely to give all their long term friends a better deal then say someone they just met.

Remember most flash drives that are in the 512mb market are going for like almost $200 bucks now. The new Irivers are good example of this.

I don't think Apple will be doing flash.

So a 1-2-4GB smaller iPod around $200 bucks will kill everything Flash in this area.
 
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ryan

macrumors 6502
May 17, 2002
283
0
Denver, CO
I had forgotten about the mini drives that IBM has been producing for awhile now. Maybe now that Apple and IBM are working closely together on chip production maybe we'll see that relationship spill over into other areas.
 
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pjkelnhofer

macrumors 6502a
Sep 8, 2003
640
0
Boston
Re: Sound good but.....

Originally posted by CheekyGit
Apple will charge an arm and a leg for the Mini-iPod.

If it's $50-$65 for the mini-drive, then Apple will probably price at around $150-$200 for the final product.

Gotta keep those profits rollin' in somewhere.....certainly not from ITMS.

Thanks but no thanks.

I hardly see how $150 would be an arm and a leg. There are other components involved than the hard drive. A lot of the "profit" goes back into advertising and developing new products.

Why do people always seem to think Apple products cost more because they just want to screw the customers?

I think $150 for 2 GB's and $200 for 4 GB's would be a phenomenal value (especially if they can keep the current interface).
 
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hokka

macrumors regular
Apr 3, 2003
143
0
Sydney
Anyone heard of GS Magicstor Inc.?

Currently they produce two versions: 2.2/2.4GB & a 4.4/4.8GB 1" Microdrive ( http://www.gs-magicstor.com/english/products-E/index.htm )

Since it's produced in China, the price would be very competitive I would imagine... then there's also MarQlin Corp. based in San Jose ( http://www.marqlin.com/ )

Don't just look at Cornice just because it "promises" to get the price down to $50 a pop and all the media jumped on it... look deeper guys

Further more according to this article: Sub-1-inch hard disk drives on the horizon

http://news.softpedia.com/news/2/2003/December/6257.shtml

""Disk drives are going into more and more applications," said Thomas M. Coughlin, president of storage market analysis company Coughlin Associates Inc., during a storage industry conference in Tokyo in November. "Companies are looking at 1.8-inch, 1-inch and possibly 0.8-inch or 0.7-inch drives."

"Several companies are expected to launch 1.8-inch drives during 2004 and Hitachi already has two competitors in the 1-inch market space. They are Colorado-based Cornice Inc., which brands its 1.5GB drive the "Storage Element" and is already shipping the drive to customers including iRiver Co. Ltd. and Digitalway Co. Ltd. for use in MP3 players, and GS Magicstor Inc., a start-up disk maker based in China's western province of Guizhou"
 
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drbyers

macrumors newbie
Jun 17, 2003
23
0
if your a good customer (and you want a HUGE quantity) you can almost name your price when negotiating bulk prices.

that's how business partnerships work.

This is why I'm holding out hope that the new iPods will be hard drive based, instead of flash based.
 
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pjkelnhofer

macrumors 6502a
Sep 8, 2003
640
0
Boston
Originally posted by drbyers
This is why I'm holding out hope that the new iPods will be hard drive based, instead of flash based.
Someone correct me if I am wrong, but believe that Steve Jobs has stated in the past that he does not care for flash-based devices.
This would lead me to think that the cheaper iPod will still contain a hard drive.
 
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hvfsl

macrumors 68000
Jul 9, 2001
1,856
165
London, UK
I am expecting the lowend (around 2GB version) to sell for $100, and the high end (around 4GB) to sell for $150.

If Apple cant make a profit on ipods at that price, then they can always sell them at at slight loss, like games consoles. They could then get the money back in the iTunes Store, like Sony/Nintendo etc get money back on game sales. Because of the price of the ipods, and their name, they would wipe out the competition at the sub $200 price range. And since all the other stores use Windows Media, ipod owners would only be able to buy music from Apple (or buy CDs).
 
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wwworry

macrumors regular
Mar 23, 2002
235
0
I say 2GB for $149 USD and 4GB for $199 USD. It would seem to fit their existing price structure.
 
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digital1

macrumors 6502
Jan 2, 2002
294
0
Wisconsin
IF I could...

If I could scrape up some money for that I would go for that... Nice price point. Hope it happens.
 
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mrsebastian

macrumors 6502a
Nov 26, 2002
744
0
sunny san diego
somehow i doubt apple will price the base model of the minipod any higher than $99 (maybe even less). a cost of $65 is mentioned and even if apple is buying these specific drives for the minipod, they'll get a much bigger discount than that. heck they sold almost a million ipods this year! can you even imagine the possibilities at an ipod for the masses, in colors, and only $99 to start?! i see my apple stock rising :D
 
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iMook

macrumors regular
Mar 7, 2003
168
0
Those of you who believe that the Cornice-to-microdrive jump and the microdrive-to-0.87" microdrive jump is small are sorely mistaken.

Cornice make cheaper drives because they aren't fully enclosed microdrives. Cornice offlaods the firmware and control chips onto the entertainment device's own memory, rather than enclse it in the HDD casing. Thus, Cornice will never make a CompactFlash microdrive, because their current technology does not allow this. Read up on Cornice's products more before saying that their drive cost is a reflection of the microdrive market. Cornice builds their HDDs specifically for portable entertainment devicves, becaseu they know those devices : 1. have space for external (read: not on HDD) memory, 2. probably already have external memory to serve as a skip-free cache. Cornice's prices are NOT a reflection of microdrives' at large.

Toshiba's 0.87" microdrives are in their prototype stages. Do you really think that the development cycle for anything as complex and novel as a microdrive allows for under 3 months of prototype-to-consumer-product conversion? No.

Cornice may have larger drives up their sleeves, but there have been no public announcements which even hint at this. So far, they have a product line of 1: 1.5 GB miniature HDD.

I only know a little about Apple's high profit margins, but I do think that the $100 price point is not probable (though possible). Advertising, assembly costs (the iPod is better built than just about any other HDD MP3 player out there) and other factors will drive up the price even before the hefty margin is tacked on.


edit: If there are going to be multiple sizes (capacity-wise) of miniPods, then they most probably won't be Cornice drives. They'll be microdrives, and the price point won't be anything close to $100. (Unless Apple can pull microdrives out of thin air)
 
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rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
27,397
12,514
Originally posted by hvfsl
If Apple cant make a profit on ipods at that price, then they can always sell them at at slight loss, like games consoles. They could then get the money back in the iTunes Store, like Sony/Nintendo etc get money back on game sales.

Only problem with that theory is Apple makes a nickle a song and many will never buy music online. No need to if you don't want. Game mfgs. make huge margins on games and you need them if you buy a player.

edit: tpyo :p
 
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appleface

macrumors regular
Dec 30, 2003
155
0
West Texas
this doesn't work, does it?
2 gb, $100
4 gb, $150
10 gb, $300
20 gb, $400
40 gb, $500

the price of the 4 gb ipod doesn't jive with the other prices. will the 4 gb price be higher, the 10 gb price be lower, or the $300 ipod be bigger?
 
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pjkelnhofer

macrumors 6502a
Sep 8, 2003
640
0
Boston
Originally posted by hvfsl
If Apple cant make a profit on ipods at that price, then they can always sell them at at slight loss, like games consoles. They could then get the money back in the iTunes Store, like Sony/Nintendo etc get money back on game sales. Because of the price of the ipods, and their name, they would wipe out the competition at the sub $200 price range. And since all the other stores use Windows Media, ipod owners would only be able to buy music from Apple (or buy CDs).
I think the problem with this is that Apple has stated that iTMS does not make money and that it doesn't not exist to make money. It exists to sell iPods (not the reverse). Which is why people question everyone wanting to jump into the internet music store market. If the #1 music download store doesn't make money what will the #5 one do.
I don't think you will see an iPod below $149. The hope for the smaller iPod is that people fill them up and buy a larger one (that is my opinion).
 
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