BusinessWeek: Hard drive-based Apple iPods on their way to extinction

“Evidence is mounting that hard drive-based iPods may be on their way to extinction. At least that’s one conclusion you might draw from an analysis of the components inside the latest iPod classic (the sixth iPod model to feature a hard drive) by market research firm iSuppli,” Arik Hesseldahl reports for BusinessWeek.

“Why isn’t the iPod with the biggest and best screen, the iPod touch, also the one with the highest storage capacity? While the classic comes in models with 80 GB or 160 GB of storage, the touch uses flash memory chips and comes in capacities of just 8 GB and 16 GB. ‘It seems odd to me to that Apple didn’t take the best display and the highest-capacity hard drive and combine them into a single product,’ says iSuppli analyst Chris Crotty,” Hesseldahl reports.

“One reason that Apple appears to be veering in this design direction, accepting lower storage capacities for now on all but the classic, is the downward trajectory of flash memory prices,” Hesseldahl reports.

“Assuming these trends continue, Apple would be able to put 128 GB of flash into an iPod for roughly the same cost as today’s 8 GB within three years, says iSuppli analyst Andrew Rassweiler. Since the other three iPod models and the iPhone are already flash-based, the classic seems sure to follow that path,” Hesseldahl reports.

Full article here.


  1. This is sort of a no-duh comment. As soon as Flash based media gets big enough of course it will. Better battery life, less danger of damage from dropping, smaller form factor.

    yeah, pretty much a no-brainer.

  2. Hard drives in general are on their way to extinction. You’ll see it with small electronics first (where the tech. never had a real foot-hold), then laptops and then desktops.

    As far as iPods go, I don’t want to see the classic go away until it can be replaced with a 160GB or bigger flash based unit. Some of us like to take all of our music with us.

  3. Expect eventually to hear Microsoft boast that Zune dominates the [hard disk based] media player market.

    Seriously, I wondered about the role of the new 160 GB unit. I mean, is it intended for server backup? Maybe a storage repository for Time Machine. In the end, it’s just more stuff to lose, so be circumspect about what’s stored on that device.

  4. Raymond hit the nail on the head…

    Redmond, WA — Microsoft announced today that it expects Zune market share to increase. “Today we are announcing our intent to completely dominate the hard drive based portable music player market within the next three year,” said CEO Steve Ballmer…

  5. I wonder why BusinessWeek employs this individual whose last two articles make zero sense and contribute nothing but disinformation and misinformation, unlike most of its useful comments. As a purchaser of the latest 80 gig classic, I am very happy with it, and am well aware that a 16 Gig flash drive would require me to buy no less than five of the itouches to give me the same capacity as I need now for my music collection. The previous one was a 30 gig which my daughter has, and the 80 is now cheaper than was the 30. Thank you Apple.

  6. I was totally blown away with the size and weight of the iPod Touch when I saw it in the Apple Store. Really thin and light. I can see why Apple don’t want to spoil the ascetics of the unit by bulking it up with a hard drive, plus the reduction on battery life.

    Of course I would need 32 gigs to handle my library so I am waiting still before I pounce (like a Leopard!!). Maybe flash prices will drop enough by Jan. Kinda doubt it.

    It would be interesting if Apple were to provide card support. That way as flash capacity increases one could add more memory. Unlikely since increased capacity is a major selling tool for new models.

  7. My step-daughter bought a 160 GB iPod shortly after they became available. She could have managed, for a year (perhaps), with an 80 GB model, but the 160 GB version gives her room to grow.
    That said, her collection is more “professional” than “personal”. She’s a DJ for a dance group. She spends several hours a week, every week, ripping songs to disk and compiling play-disks. She also lends play-disks for other group DJs, on request.
    Flash will eventually catch up, and surpass, her needs. Her rather extreme needs. Possibly this decade, more likely next.

  8. I think the 16GB touch has more than enough capacity for most users. Personally I only have about 6GB of music, which leaves 8GB for videos, photos, contacts, etc… which, considering how little space videos take up when formatted for iPods, means I can fit quite a bit. My last iPod was a 4th generation 40GB, but I found that was way too much space. I’ve held off buying flash up until now because even 8GB just wasn’t enough, but 16GB is the first size that I really feel comfortable with, and it’s only going to increase in the future (duh).

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