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back to article Has Steve Jobs killed the consumer hard disk industry?

Has Apple prophet Steve Jobs just foretold the end of the desktop hard drive? He has brought down his tablets from Apple's mountain and the word from fanbois heaven is that the PC is just another device; iPad, iPod and iPhone users don't need to be tethered to it anymore. Instead of their PC and its hard drive being the main …

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Coffee/keyboard

Now all they need to do...

Now all they need to do is stop corralling their users into a 'gated' environment where the only things you can buy and install are from Apple directly. They also need to stop telling their users what they can and can't do with their devices.

I'm going to sit here semi quietly waiting for the great Apple user blow back when they suddenly go all 'Logans Run' on Cupertino.

...I guess the less said about iOS5*cough*Android the better...

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can and cant

"They also need to stop telling their users what they can and can't do with their devices."

The problem is you are seeing it as the devices belong to the user. Instead think of it that the devices belong to Apple (who made them) and the users are just renting them out. A bit like how you don't own rights to a movie you buy.

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Big Brother

"the devices belong to Apple and the users are just renting them out"

This reminds me a bit of the classic "switch to Mac" parody:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEvYETWVK6M

"I don't feel like I'm operating the Mac so much as I'm just there sharing the Mac experience..."

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Go

Float 'em up ....

... shoot 'em down. Should be a great show huh?

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worse than that

The devices own the people holding them. They hold their data hostage. If you want to see your family again (or at least your old family snaps) then you keep paying us the rental.

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Stop

*cough*

"disk really does face becoming the new tape over the next five, ten and twenty years"

What, the medium that everyone keeps saying is dead, but when you scratch the surface is still doing the same job it always was? Seriously, no. Have a look at your won reportage to see how dead tape is:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/15/google_streamline_lto/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/18/tape_in_the_cloud/

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Stop

RTF Title

the article is talking about consumer HDDs...

I don't see a thriving consuming tape industry anywhere.

Not that I'll be giving up my own private HDDs anytime soon...

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tape is dead

tape *is* dead. ive seen more zip drives than tapes in the past year!

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you won't see it

Best tape drive is like a mainframe or a fully redundant server. Ordinary people never sees them especially when we talk about real enterprise.

Same goes for mainframes, they run and they are still sold but generally they are buried underground at a datacenter middle of nowhere.

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Facepalm

Underground datacentre?

Underground datacentres aren't a very smart idea. They can fill up with wet brown stuff when something goes wrong with the pipework or the weather.

But yes, real tape facilities are normally well-hidden from ordinary users.

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Linux

Thriving tape industry?

When was there ever really a thriving desktop tape industry?

Tape has always been somewhat like SCSI on the desktop. It's a technology that tends to be inherently expensive for the really robust gear. Being cheap with tape really doesn't work out well in the long run. Cheap tape tends to fail and is not really re-usable. Cheap tape also tends to be low capacity, too low capacity to be really useful. Tape in general is kind of awkward and always has been. It's always been better if you had some sort of jukebox or robot.

In short, it's a technology not well suited to consumer use. Short of needing to use it for a Vic-20, it has always been kind of awkward in the consumer space.

Tape continues to do what it has always does, kind of like mainframes.

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Oh yes

Back in the Speccy days, tape was thriving.

If you mean PC/Mac tape - not really.

But when iCloud gives you a total of (awestruck silence!) 5GB, it's not going to be replacing hard disks any time soon.

When that goes up to 5TB, it might start being competitive with local storage.

The point of iCloud is that it makes it certain kinds of data social, in a limited way.

It's not a viable disk replacement, and likely never will be.

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I say middle of nowhere, no humans around

I know a bank putting their mainframe sysplex middle of nowhere and underground. There is almost no civilization there. 2 facilities, 75 KM away eachother and there is also usual "fallback" contract in a civilized city.

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SD is the new floppy

If you need cheap simple removable storage then the SD card is it. It's less complicated that fitting a USB slot to a device and certainly less fiddly than a CD-ROM burner.

As for ZIP drives, they are long dead. It was just one of the replacement floppy technologies.

It does seem they are trying to kill the SD card. To begin with the camera companies all kept coming out with new FLASH card formats. At least that's stopped, now they just keep coming out with new SD card sizes.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

WTF?

Trolls not just IN the forums ...

... but posting articles for El Reg!

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Facepalm

he'd like to think so I'm sure

There will be some people who will flock to iCloud et al and use a cloud of one flavour or another for everything they store/access/share/... Then there'll be people who use it for some data but they'll store other stuff locally and then there'll be people who will ignore the cloud completely and keep everything local. Therefore there will be still be a sizeable demand for HDD in the consumer market.

I realise there is a need to grab attention with sensationalist headlines and spurious articles but these sweeping generalisations and broad-brush knee jerks are starting to get on my tits.

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Devil

RE: he'd like to think so I'm sure

"these sweeping generalisations and broad-brush knee jerks are starting to get on my tits"

That comment has made my morning... THANK YOU!!

Can you think of a world, where we don't every have any id (passport, driving license), where we have no paperwork, and then some idiot accidentally deletes the wrong person out of the system, and you no longer exist? Why am I thinking Demolition Man??

End of HDD? Nah. Maybe use a different format, but everthing on the Cloud? You must be having a laugh.

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I won't be flocking anywhere

Thanks Steve, but I want to know, and control where my data goes, certainly not to US servers subject to the Patriot act with access dictated by Apple. I like my data in my personal NAS and loaded to my iPhone & iPod (I have an Air as well) as I see fit.

Spinning rust will not disappear until flash is cheap enough and reliable enough to provide large data stores, until then, even iCloud will require it as a storage medium.

Sadly, as is often the case in IT the proponents of this model actually believe they speak the truth, because they can't cope with more than one technical solution at a time.

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Agree

Totally agree. And what am I supposed to do with 5GB? An afternoon of photography consumes 8GB, good, I could add the photos to my "stream" for the next 30 days, but where would they go after that?

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@Is it me?

Then you'll be very happy to know that the iCloud service is not only *optional*, but is only there to *sync* up your devices--not necessarily to store your stuff. Therefore, it is mostly a conduit for those who want that service.

Feel free to use over-the-air, peer-to-peer syncing using Wi-Fi, which is another feature announced for the next version of iOS and Mac OS X.

I don't think it's appropriate to judge Apple's strategy in the same light as Google's or Amazon's. The vision of the latter two is to store all information and grant streaming or on-demand access to users through web interfaces.

Really, you guys should pay a bit more attention at what's actually been announced.

-dZ.

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@DZ-Jay

Of course iCloud is optional, in fact it has an added cost so it isn't like someone's forcing you to use it. Most of the responses are actually dealing with the tone of the article, which states that HDDs are dead because PCs are dead because iToys can now sync w/o a PC or Mac. That assumes not only that all iToy owners subscribe to iCloud, but that everyone has an iToy, which isn't the case in the real world.

It's like that other claim that Apple's iMac was the death knell for the floppy disk. No it wasn't... it died when USB flash drives became cheap enough to take over them.

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Big Brother

The movie that came to mind was not Demolition Man

It was "Brazil (1985)."

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Coat

Optional?

It's optional for us. We understand the implications of the options offered by Apple. However the normal user loves stuff which is cool, inexpensive and convenient. This always on data sync'ing will be a massive hit if it works well and does not become a joke like Sony's servers.

The outcome of this will be that government regulation of personal data becomes possible and then essential for our safety. Apple wanting to stay on the right side of decency will impose tougher rules than the law requires.

I know I left my old Nokia in here somewhere.

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Tosh

Total and utter tosh!

Words actually escape me on how crap this article is. Utter Apple fanboyism at work.

Just try streaming a 1080p movie onto your ipad from the icloud and see how utter icrap it is.

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re: Just try streaming 1080p

I remember people saying that youtube would never become popular, and that the business model was doomed, because there would never be the bandwidth for high quality streaming video.

I will be very depressed if local storage really does start to become unavailable, if lack of demand kills off real PCs and we all get stuck with dodgy dumb-terminal-like phone computers. I hope that day doesn't come, but I'm not going to bet on cloud services being eternally crap to hold that day off.

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jai
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not apple fanboyism

even the most zealotous of us fanboys also view this article with contempt. If it was a comment post, i'd say it was from a penguin bothering troll.

The iCloud isn't going to take all of our data from our laptops and desktop machines and thus remove the need for hard disks.

At best, it's going to facilitate easy movement of data from the hard disks attached to my iMac, across to the disk in my MacBook and the flash drives in my iPad and iPhone.

Apple aren't providing me we 4TB of space to hold all my music, apps, books, pictures, movies and tv shows. But for holding onto those media files for long term (only 1000 photos are only held online for 30 days, other data files aren't catered for), I'm going to have to do it outside of the cloud, and for that I'll still need external hard drives.

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no

i dont see what the price of a movie has to do with streaming, although if you are paying £10.80 a movie you are getting ripped off

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A title is required

There isn't enough bandwidth for high-quality streaming video, except for a few who pay through the nose for it (and happen to live in the right place to get it). Heck, half the time I can't even watch YouTube videos at 360p, let alone 720p or higher, without them pausing every few seconds. And the more people who try the worse the service becomes.

There's no way I'm going to put my personal data (passwords, contact lists, financial details, etc.) onto anyone's 'cloud', it stays on my machines where I control who has access (apart from a break-in, but that can steal data on paper just as easily) and where I can do backups (I have no control over whether or how often 'cloud' data is backed up, nor on whether I can access it when I need it).

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Youtubes bussness model was doomed

Unless their model was to be a money sink for google. they just MIGHT have started to become profitable last year. That would be after google put all that money running it in the red since they bought it. It always was a waste of time and a money sink for google, it still mostly is.

Now I'm going back to watching cats run into walls.

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Go

1090p

Surely you jest!

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A title maybe enough

we are talking about sync'ing with the iCloud here, not streaming everything. You still have the flash memory in the device. Unless you need all your movies in your hand all the time then you only need the one you're watching actually in the flash memory. Also remember that there is WiFi in most places, especially at home and at work. I have recently noticed that most of the devices connected to WiFi are not laptops but iPad type things and hand held games consoles.

I recently fixed a laptop by wiping the HD and putting Windows back on. No need to save any data what so ever, everything this person does is online. In effect he is using his laptop as if it were an iPad.

I do share your concerns about this happening but I have thought for many years that this is the way it would go. For example people used to believe that the faster their Internet became the faster they could download stuff to their hard drive. Indeed this was the case, hard drives got bigger and people managed to fill them with crap from the Internet. Once the Internet is as fast as your hard drive then what's the point of the HD? Obviously that's a long way off but the Internet is already as fast as a hard drive for looking at web pages, if you save web pages on your hard drive, they won't come up any quicker off your hard drive, well not enough to make any difference. The same with music, it plays perfectly fast enough by streaming.

The only thing you might need to save would be the URL or Title of the content.

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Not so soon

given the limited space in the iCloud (5gb) and limited time for photo's (30 days) I don't see this happening any time soon. iCloud does not stream remember, you still have to have local storage space.

Personally I still want a local nas, using online stuff only as sync, if only as a backup of the cloud.

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and ...

"Personally I still want a local nas, using online stuff only as sync, if only as a backup of the cloud."

Exactly. No consumer cloud provides any decent kind of guarantee for your data or availbility of the service and until such time as that can happen, I certainly will not rely on cloud (if ever). Backup, Sync, share etc., but NEVER my primary source of MY data.

By the way, I do wonder when 'personal cloud' (like pogoplug) will start to take off? Ultimately 'cloud' just makes me outsource my storage - and frankly, the consumer cost savings are minimal compared to the enterprise savings of virtualised storage, SaaS, processing power on demand etc. What I want is uniquitous access to my data at my house (and maybe backed up into the cloud)!

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Meh

But surely...

...surely the hardware that provides all those services are going to require hard drives and hard disk manufacturers will step in to fill that requirement?

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Paris Hilton

Presumeably the iCloud stores the data somewhere? Or is it all RAM-only with tape backups?

So instead of dealing with pesky individual customers bloviating online about relative reliability of HDs (based on one HD in their life crashing) and thus damaging your reputation, SeagateWDToshiba can deal with the big boys -- amazon, apple, google, ibm; whoever runs a cloud -- and supply them with bulk orders. Not really their demise.

Tho spinning ickle disks may be out eventually in favour of NAND flash.

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@Marvin the Martian

The back-ups must be be in RAM also. Tape is dead, remember?

-dZ.

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No - BOFH #1

"It's backup day today so I'm pissed off. Being the BOFH, however, does have it's advantages. I reassign /dev/null to be the tape device - it's so much more economical on my time as I don't have to keep getting up to change tapes every 5 minutes. And it speeds up backups too, so it can't be all bad can it? Of course not."

I think we need a BOFH icon

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then they'd have to pay Simon every time someone used it

I'm not sure he would mind...

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Meh

No offline backups then?

I presume this article is meant to be ironic...or something

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@kissingthecarpet

>>"I presume this article is meant to be ironic"

I'm not even sure it was meant to be an /article/.

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About time

This was the reason I bought an Android phone: I don't want to have to sync my phone by a cable to a PC! Why should I when my phone has an internet connection, 1GHz processor, 512MB memory and a Linux Kernel?!

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Anonymous Coward

ummm

because the data transfer rate via cable is still much faster than wireless?

Just sayin'

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Stop

Not really

When you consider the consumer space. Current consumer wired networking will get you 100Mb/s in theory, and about 80Mb/s in practice. Current consumer wireless networking will get you 300-600Mb/s in theory and about 150Mb/s in practice.

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Yag
Trollface

100Mb/s?

Perhaps you can even get back to RS232 while you're at it...

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Alert

150Mb/s in practice sounds a bit optimistic

150Mb/s in practice for consumer wireless? Most consumer wireless kit I've seen still seems to be in the 50-200 Mb/s In Theory region. Sure, there's higher-end gear available, but I wouldn't have expected it to be widely used (and, let's be honest, until ISPs start bundling such gear with new connections or upgrades, it won't be).

Even allowing for wireless kit that gives 150Mb/s in practice, if you're using said wireless connectivity to retrieve data from a non-local network bound resource, you're stuffed in terms of being anywhere close to as fast as syncing via cable to a local terminal with the data you want.

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Holmes

WTF?

You get 150Mb/s over 3g? Or even ADSL?

Until I can have 1TB of cloud storage for a ONE OFF fee of about £50, and I can send data to and from it at speeds of about 40Mbps without impacting my TV, web browsing, or other internet based activity, I am not interested.

Local storage is not the most flexible of resources; yes I cant easily access it while I am out and about, but it is fast, cheap and plentiful.

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"about 150Mb/s in practice"

Yup, if you have the laptop half an inch away from the router inside a Faraday cage in a specially tuned room and the crystal ball on your Ouija board is reporting increased vampire activity in the vicinity of your burial vault.

150 megs my ass!

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100Mbps? You're behind the times.

"Current consumer wired networking will get you 100Mb/s in theory"

Try an order of magnitude higher, unless Windoze or Apple have limited it. Gigabit routers are the norm these days for wired networks, I've actually see 100Mbps routers priced higher (because few people want them), and most PCs have Gigabit ports on the motherboard.

I typically get 100 megabytes per second access to my remote disks (and could go a tad higher as far as the network is concerned, but the disks top out at around that anyway) over my wired network (Cat5, still the same as I installed for 100Mb working many years ago). I don't know any wireless solution available to the public which has that sort of bandwidth (you'd have to go to at least X band to get enough bandwidth for one such link).

No, wired is still a lot faster. Unless you have something like an iPad which doesn't have the capability...

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And ...

I can't resist adding, Cat-5e clipped to the skirting boards like phone cable works just fine at gigabit speed. Maybe the tight bends around corners are out of spec, but the cable runs are unlikely to be more than 20m in a house, and the standard allows for ninety-plus.

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