Looks like we can expect Apple's popular little players to throw away their hard drives for good.
The iPod mini is swapping its trusty old hard drives for Flash memory, if industry sources are to be believed. What’s more, we shouldn’t have long to wait for them either.
The details of the “confirmed reports” are thus: Flash based 4GB, 6GB and 8GB minis that are roughly 20-25 per cent smaller than the current generation. Screens will be colour, with higher resolutions (176 x 132 compared to 138 x 110), but 0.2in smaller. Battery life will increase given the more efficient storage media, though some of the potential gains will be swallowed up by the upgraded display and reduced dimensions. Pricing for the 4GB and 6GB models is likely to remain the same as today’s street prices (£139/£169 respectively), with the 8GB edition substantially more ($299 US, so at least £200 on these shores – putting it dangerously close to a 20GB iPod).
At the same time Apple looks set to boost its shuffle player to 2GB, which should have a positive knock on effect for the 512MB and 1GB models below it. The improvements to both lines could appear before the end of September.
Now, whether these reports bear fruit or not (and there are strong indications that they will), it seems clear that it has a lot to do with the exponential advances in Flash memory in general, and the massive price cuts of Flash memory producer (and Apple supplier) Samsung in particular. In fact, given the growth rates of the sector in the last 18 months, it is not unrealistic to expect 20GB Flash iPods circa 2007. For now though, let’s just be happy with this highly encouraging news.
Still, you’ll never stop me dreaming of tomorrow… ”Ahhh Tomorrow! That Eternal Gadget Utopia!”