January 6, 2004 2:31 PM PST
Hitachi hard drive at heart of new iPod
Apple did not state which company is manufacturing the drive for the new iPods, but sources close to Hitachi confirmed it is the Japanese computing giant.
The process of elimination is also fairly straightforward on this issue, because there are only three companies with product plans in this area. Cornice, a start-up that makes a 2GB minidrive that can be found in music players from Digital Networks North America (makers of the Rio line), said it wasn't involved, and Toshiba, which manufacturers 1.8-inch drives for Apple's other iPods, won't come out with a drive in the 1-inch range until late this year.
The hard drive has emerged as one of the key components in the push to bring PC technologies to the home. Personal video recorders from TiVo and others depend on hard drives to store recorded TV programs. Samsung has shown off a small video camera that relies on a 1-inch hard drive.
Until recently, in fact, the market for small hard drives, defined as drives with a diameter of 1.8 inches or less, has been sort of a sleepy place. IBM originally designed the 1-inch drive, which it called the micro drive, in the 1990s, but it sold in low numbers. Toshiba was the first major manufacturer of 1.8-inch drives, but to date, the vast majority of the drives have been incorporated into iPods.
Last year, Hitachi and Cornice both jumped into the market. Hitachi acquired the technology when it purchased IBM's hard-drive business in 2002.