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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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No, they need to stop living in PC's

Home PC users are creating and obtaining vast amounts of data through photos and videos that need somewhere to live. Broadband infrastructure is going to be in a speed rut for some time to come yet. The disk manufacturers need to get out the shadows and start producing very, very simple appliances that can be accessed by WiFi in seconds and back themselves up totally painlessly. But yeah, long term I think they can wave bye bye to most of their markets.

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Happy

Or,

they could develop disk drives you can simply plug into a USB port and use as if they are a big memory stick. What, they already have? And they are cheap? So the entire article was a bit silly, wasn't it?

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Facepalm

Assumption of competence

I know several people for whom information on a PC is lost if the PC dies. They don't understand backups, and they don't really get data recovery - I've told one family that if they bring their PC round, I can get their photos off it, but I'm yet to see it.

So, even if the Cloud is rubbish, it's probably better than many people have now!

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Casts 'Disbelieve'

The death of the PC has been predicted for the last decade, often by those who stand most to gain by depicting it as a lumber luxury. It's a shame that the interesting idea of the cloud as a central synchronisation point is buried inside such obvious brand-based propaganda.

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FAIL

what they said...

I'm certainly not going to be storing hundreds of gigabytes of HD camcorder footage in the iCloud. Its bad enough streaming 25Mbps video from the PC upstairs to the TV, god knows what it would be like from the internet.

People can predict the demise of the consumer HDD market as much as they want. I'd put my money on the weather predictions being more accurate than this.

Just fail.

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End of the PC

I suspect a lot of people (possibly the majority) will find that they really don't need a PC at home. From personal experience I doubt that a lot of people really need them at work either. However, someone is going to have to produce all that lovely content for the consumption devices, so perhaps there will be a smaller but higher value market for PCs (a generic term).

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FAIL

And if...

you are like me, on a slow connection and with a cap on your internet account? What to do, eh?

Besides as a Linux user I agree with RMS in that I do not trust Apple, Microsoft, Google etc with my data. Should I blindly store my stuff on an unknown server in an unknown jurisdiction? I think not. "Warrant, what warrant?"

Apple have a tendency to lock things down to the maximum possible degree, and if Mr. Jobs decides that what you are storing on your virtual partition does not meet his standards then what might happen. Do an Amazon and unilaterally delete said offending content?

No, I do forsee the day coming when flash overtakes the hard drive as the main backing storage medium on PCs, but in a data centre, not for a long time, I think.

I still believe in the "personal computer" aspect of my use of IT. If I have to switch from HDD to flash then so be it, but trust my data to the giant proprietory companies pushing the cloud, no.

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Anonymous Coward

The cloud won't replace hard disks until

there is fast, reliable, cheap and unlimited broadband (mobile or fixed depending on the device) for all, including rural areas.

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Eh?

So instead of everyone having a single hard disk that they keep their data on and buy a new one only when they replace their computer, Apple are going to need to buy several disks for everyone, in a highly-redundant configuration, with off-site backups and caching SSD's and content duplication for CDN, etc. plus spares and replacements because they are running 24/7 in order to serve them the same files.

Yeah. That's going to REALLY hurt the hard disk industry if that takes off. What are they thinking?!

(Sarcasm has now left the building).

Putting your data only on the cloud is still a stupid idea no matter who's behind it.

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Is it April Fools already?

Funny article.

Won't repeat ad nauseum the comments above about what iCloud stores stuff on, but the author seems to think that the be-all and end-all of storage is the consumer space. Strange that those little corporations suddenly don't matter - y'know, those ones who number their machines in the tens or hundreds of thousands on a constantly evolving upgrade cycle? Last I looked, Mac OS was growing smartly in consumer but not making much of a dent in corporate, and when I say "growing" I mean it is still a distant second in terms of installed base.

Also, the author fails to note that one of the big problems with SSDs is their price, which will massive retard their take up until their £/GB approahes HDD levels. Of course, the big problem here is that the massive growth in smartphones and other media consumption devices, such as his precious iPhone and iPad, all rely on solid state, which means the classic "personal computer (including Mac)" cannot get their grubby mitts on the damn things to push for mass adoption.

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WTF?

utter bollocks

El Reg - you really need to rethink some of the (non)'stories' you publish. I find it hard to find the words to describe how ridiculous this article is.

No doubt some Apple fanbois will want to use iCloud for everything they do - if they've got that little data.

Other Apple users (myself included - though I am FAR from being a fanboi, and use Windows too), won't go anywhere near it, and will only ever trust their data to disks (be they in PCs, *nix boxes, NAS devices or home servers) that they have complete control over.

Writing ridiculous, badly thought out, sensationalist articles based on the dronings of St.Steve is not journalism.

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So who leaked

the second memo saying the leaker of the first memo had been sacked

I can see this running and running

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FAIL

No. Next Question

Explanation.

Until the capacity, price and longevity of SSD's can match that of rotating media then no he hasn't.

No one has.

What PC manufacturer has declared that they are not going to use rotating media any more? None.

When do the Analystists predict that Flash (of whatever sort) will reach the same price per GB as current rotating media? 3-5 years.

Will the mix of storage used in the home change in the near term (1-2 years)? Yes it will.

One example:- More people will have centralised storage that is used for media streaming all around their home. Some of the NAS devices already on sale have pretty well all this functionality already. Add the ability to record over the air or internet with remote control etc then you have a device that can replace a whole load of current HDD's.

Then there is the other thorny question. Cloud Reliability & Cost.

What happens when your cloud supplier (whoever they might be) has an outage and loses your data? What guarantees do you have that they won't lose it? What guarantees do you have that it won't be hacked and your precious wedding pictures/video being replaced with a load of pron?

Then if you stop paying for your particular bit of the cloud then what happens to the data? It gets deleted. This can easily happen. Little things like expired credit cards can cause you to lose everything. Is that acceptable to the ordinary man in the street? I think not.

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hj

Has Steve Jobs killed the consumer hard disk industry?

Only if you have nice new iMac, because Apple in all its wisdom decided you can not replace your HDD with any other and put on some proprietary connector... (the rest of the article is just such bullsh!t that i do not know where to begin (and luckily others already have pointed thart out))

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Facepalm

OH For the love of jebus...

Apple and Jobs finally discover the cloud, a technology that’s been around for years ( Hotmail anyone), and suddenly “it’s the end to the hard disk industry”.

5GB storage is not going to kill the storage industry. Every other company offers much more storage space, 25GB on live I believe.

This cloud service is good for apple, but seriously folks, just because apple finally joined the party doesn’t mean the end of anything!

Its like saying that If jobs decides to eat cornflakes tomorrow, does that spell the end for rice crispies?

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Happy

@fintan

"Its like saying that If jobs decides to eat cornflakes tomorrow, does that spell the end for rice crispies?"

No, it means the end of all the rice crops around the world! Conversely, buy corn futures!

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PVRs? IDTVs?

There will always be needs for HDDs.

Just because mobile applications are going cloudy, and maybe documents too, don't forget that there are other uses for HDDs.

More and more TVs and STBs (Freesat+, Sky+, Virgin with TiVo, etc) are being built with internal hard-drives for recording purposes.... and I'm guessing a lot more people have TVs than PCs...

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Devil

Every cloud....

....has a vulnerable lining.

Just saying.

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FAIL

Deja Vu

Over 50 years ago, I recall my management telling me that there was no future in making batteries!

Nothing changes

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FAIL

The Cloud will NEVER replace hard disks!

So let me get this straight... Microsoft came up with SkyDrive, and then Apple came up with ICloud. Is that right? Each is online storage, where someone else can have access to your personal private data, and you can only have 5 Gb on there, as opposed to having complete privacy and up to 2 Tb of disk space on hard drives, and SkyDrive or Cloud is better? Will someone please give me a 500 word essay as to explain why it is better?

This is the stupidest article that I have ever read!

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Defective memory

If everyone had defective memory, then I guess they would all have forgotten about the various problems a few years ago with data lost by people using online disk/backup companies which went bankrupt. Any online storage, whether cloudy or not, relies on the company operating the service to remain in business and to maintain the service. If they get bored with it and move onto the next big thing, those who chose to keep control of their own data may have the last laugh.

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Linux

So you really believe in the tooth fairy....not

iCloud....iPad.....iPhone......I can just see all the little plebs lining up to dis the HDD's and use uncle steves' latest vision...

Wonder how loud the screaming is going to be when the iPlebs have to pass the iCashregister on the way to their not owned data in the iCloud of the future....

you lot bought into the 'i' bullshit...just wait till it starts costing you even more than it does now to suck up to the iGod...

Ha Ha, your all Steve's bitches now..... Apple, just another word for losers.

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iClouf and Google Docs

So called Cloud computing is the mainframe and terminal by another name.

The people who need PC or Laptop to do the kind of work they always did that wasn't media consumption, email and web browsing need to store specialist applications and data.

The "Cloudy" folk don't want your data. They want to be your application provider and then the Cloud Admins really own your data.

Back to the Central control of Mainframe era where someone else decides what applications you can have.

Also back to 1980s network speeds. Most people's cloud uplink speed is less than 0.5Mbps. Pretty like a single shared10Mbps cheaper-net / coax hub based network in a medium office with no switches, only hubs. Except with worse reliability and latency.

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Silver badge

PVRs

The ideal PVR records EVERY channel for rolling 7 days... Browse entire EPG from now till a week ago and watch or "save".

About 0.3 Tbyte per channel. More for HD.

1T byte and larger are common now in PVRs.

IPTV? Only as a Pay TV service from your ISP. Real HD in real time over the Public Internet isn't feasible, costs about 10,000 more than Terrestrial broadcast.

FTA TV at Broadcast & HD quality will only be Broadcast. Until there is true Broadcast IP (which can't by definition be VOD) on Fibre over Public Internet, real TV on "Broadband" will be only from your ISP. And cost a lot more than FTA satellite or DTT.

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Ru
Facepalm

The article talks about *consumer* harddrives

Your average consumer does not need terabytes of space. Hell, as the iPad has shown, plenty of people don't even need a *physical keyboard*.

There will always be a need for workstation-type things for people who actually work using computers rather than just use them as a slightly dumb replacement secretary. These people are not average consumers. You need to store and process hundreds of gigabytes of photo of video data? You are not an average consumer. Most people don't own dSLRs or HD digital video recorders.

The server and workstation market for drives won't go away, and the article did not imply it would. Have a think about what might happen to the price of harddrives when the consumer market starts to shrink, though.

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FAIL

Wrong way around

A few years back loads of people had PCs and had almost no data on them at all. Now days people use more and more space - even AVERAGE users as you call them. I mean, why specify dSLRs specifically? Do other digital cameras not require hard disk space?

How many pc users do you think there are who don't fill their hard drives with photos, videos, and music these days? Data consumption and storage is rising fast not dropping.

For most people the cloud may be a handy way to share data but for day to day storage? Forget it. The future of personal storage is surely all about size. Once I can get a memory stick with 1tb for £10, why the hell would I want to pay to store my data on someone elses drive?

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i DON'T THINK SO

Well not for a fair few years. i do a fair bit of video editing, how am I goiong to work on Hi-Def video clips if they are stored on the cloud and how long will it take to upload a 2gb or more clip onto the cloud at my 3megabits connection speed?

Spinning disk drives are coming to the end now, but again it will be a good 2 to 3 years before they vanish, because solid state drives are still expensive and still too low a capacity

there are also people who will never trust the cloud be it Icloud or another other with their data.

Maybe in the next 10 years or so, people may start using services like Icloud more, I use drop box for some stuff, but only stuff that is not that important.

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iWhy

Could storage is useful, sure but I don't like to give up control over what documents and data I have on which machine and so on. I have a WHS for backup and some of that is backed up to keepvault.

As for the phone, there's never anything on there that isn't available somewhere else. I did like MSs myphone backup when I was on WM6.5, but I'm on Android these days.

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Size matters sometimes

Flash - 16GB

HDD - 3TB.

Flash is OK for music archives but get serious and have a few videos.

Also flash wear will never cease to be a problem, look at the problems lots of people have with SSDs.

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Facepalm

I think the Internet has killed of comprehension and individual thought...

If you're asking 'where do I keep my 50Gb RAW files' or 'what about my 27Tb of media' and'How am I going to do my 3D rending on a phone?" then you're like a tractor manufacturer slating the Saart Car for not being able to deliver tractors. IT'S NOT AIMED AT YOU! It's for the casual user, who only has a few Gb of personal data and buys their music through iTunes.

Jeez...

Steve

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Sure, it's not aimed at us ..

... 'us' being the sort of people who read El Reg. So people should stop writing articles supporting ridiculous blanket assertations such as 'the end of the PC'. It's the end of the PC for people who don't want to / can't faff with traditional devices.

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Us, too!

I've moved most of my PC usage into the datacenter years ago with Citrix. Now with several virtualisation options I find myself working on a terminal server or virtual PC most of the time.

My camera bag used to contain a portable 30GB harddrive, no I have an iPad.

Yes, I know, walled garden and no USB and such, but somehow Canon has a plug in the 5D with which I can use it with the iPad and Adobe Lightroom has ways to import pictures from the iPad. Must be something awesome and magical :)

That old Notebook is still good enough to work on my pictures and it is certainly good enough to remote access the computing power we have in a rack back in the company.

Instead of a quad core I5 at home I have access to 16 Xeon cores with plenty of RAM somewhere in the cloud.

Ok, not much somewhere, since it's what we call private cloud now I now exactly where the rack is :)

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FAIL

No you don't

"Instead of a quad core I5 at home I have access to 16 Xeon cores with plenty of RAM somewhere in the cloud."

No you don't, you have a share of your 16 Xeon cores, and a share of the RAM, depending on how many others wish to use it at the same time.

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Mushroom

The cry of the fanboy

> IT'S NOT AIMED AT YOU! It's for the casual user

A 2 hour high res video in a modern format is 25G. That is a short vacation video.

Are you trying to tell us that "only geeks" take vacation videos?

"Normal people" have been making their own videos since the 60s.

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Facepalm

All Hail the Return of the Mainframe!

Except now it'll be Apple's and Microsoft's mainframe instead of IBM's.

Oh, and don't forget you can't store your own CD/DVD rips on their DASD, errrrm, iCloudy-thingy.

Bollocks to that.

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FAIL

Nonsense on stilts

Smartphones are easier to use than PC's?

Gimme a break.

And nobody needs local storage any more, because - as we all know - Internet connections everywhere are super-fast all the time and never break. Oh, and cloud suppliers are completely reliable, they never lose your data or get hacked into or cut you off for non-payment or for any other reason mistaken or otherwise. Ever.

Whatever this guy's smoking, I don't want any of it.

An Apple shill, nothing more.

Absurd.

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Silver badge

Put YOUR data on HIS cloud?

Human stupidity knows no bounds...

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Anonymous Coward

you can keep your Rolex at my house

I'll let you wear it whenever you want, I promise!

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Let me know how you go...

...trying to fit terabytes of data on to your iThing.

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In Other News...

Steve Jobs wears black turtlenecks. All other sweaters now obsolete.

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Answers

1. "Has Apple prophet Steve Jobs just foretold the end of the desktop hard drive?"

No. Cloud services existed before he spoke.

2. "Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital. The spinning disk gang are fresh out of luck."

You mean, apart from all the platters they will sell into the cloud biz?

3. "Smart phones and tablets are much easier to use than PCs".

Try leavng a comment this long using an iPad.

4. "Thus, consumers won't buy so many PCs"

Tablet and phone buyers will additionally buy a PC. Not all PC users will buy a tablet however.

5. "...users will abandon their PCs"

For a few minutes, until they have to create some content, ie. do some actual work.

5. ".. the expected loss of the Fibre Channel disk business"

Que ?

6. "The disk troika need, really do need, to find themselves new sources of growth."

Oh no! if they go bust, who will make all these new flash drives for us ?

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I agree in most points

except point 3 and the first point 5 and I might be able to explain the second point 6.

Point 3, not everyone is a "heavy user" not even a normal user. Managing contacts and appointments on a phone plus some surfing and messaging is easily done on a mobile.

I know many people who "moved" from SMS to some sort of IM and handle their use of e-mail on a smartphone now.

First point 5, they might not abandon what they have now, which is even worse for the industry, no need for a new one for a new operating system, the old one is just fine as it is.

Second point 5, fibre channel disks are on their way out, too expensive. SAS and S-ATA are good enough, especially with the aid of some flash memory.

And to your question who'll build the flash drives, have a look at the makers today! Sandisk, OZ, Kingston, Intel, Fusion-IO and so on, no platter vendor anywhere.

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@Volker Hett

Fair enough. We will have to disagree over tablets' ease of use. After owning one for a fortnight, I honestly can't think of any job that is not easier on a PC.

What the article excitedly calls the "loss of the Fibre Channel disk business" is just technological improvement, not the death of an industry. The guys who made FC disks will just switch to SAS, they won't be losing any business.

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Facepalm

Wandering lonely as a Cloud

What's with all this Cloud nonsense? Give me a good old data warehouse.

Oh hang on, isn't that what a Cloud is? In which case book me a Cumulonimbus

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csn
FAIL

What!?

This is the biggest load of drivel I have read for a long time.

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Facepalm

So in other words..

Apple - we take a turd, wrap it in nice silver package and call it invention*?

*megaupload, 4shared, MediaFile, RapidUploads....and few other that have been doing this for a while.

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Has Steve Jobs killed the consumer hard disk industry?

Yes, just like the PC created the paperless office.

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MS did it.

Isn't Windows Live Skydrive a similar thing and it is kinda... Old?

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Bronze badge

Poppycock

The article seems to rely on the notion that people buy PCs so they can use them to put music on their iPods.

They do not.

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