Re: I don't think we should count this out
"Hard drives sitting in a datacenter are very well protected against shocks"
Not as well as you might think. In dense storage arrays there's a major problem isolating against vibration caused by both head movement in adjacent drives and chassis fans (not to mention loud noises such as people shouting at drives - the average datacentre has a SPL in the region of 90-95dBa)
"platters with finer surface smoothness tolerance"
HDD platters are already amongst the lowest tolerances in production anywhere. The R&D for them costs so much that there's only one maker of the things left. Ditto on drive heads - which is why Seagate and WD both went to shingling more or less simultaneously as the R&D costs could only be justified that way (the differences between them are assembly and secret sauce)
The far more telling thing about HDD technology is that WD and Seagate both disbanded their research units years ago and the the only part left is the arm that's trying to make HAMR work - which is an engineering problem now, not a R&D one. There's no new technology coming down the line.
Trying to justify this on the basis that enterprise will buy it is a non-starter. They're already more expensive than normal drives and SSD has mostly eaten the "low latency" end of the market. If it costs twice as much as existing enterprise drives then buyers will say "fuck it" and move to SSD instead.
AC suggested patent trolling. It's either that or someone's April 1 release got out early.