Toshiba America Won’t Confirm New Mini 60GB Drive & Apple’s Use

Toshiba America, Inc. said Wednesday it has no official comment about an announcement by its Asian division that it will manufacture a 1.8-inch hard drive with a 60GB capacity, and that Apple Computer will be using it, possibly in a yet-to-be announced iPod product.

A story by IDG News Service Wednesday, reports that the deputy manager of Toshibais Digital Media Network hard disk drive division technical department confirmed that the company plans to launch a 60GB version of its 1.8-inch hard disk drive in the coming months and that Apple has committed to buying the drive for use in one of its own products.

Cindy Lee is reported to have said the drive will be in mass production in July or August, and will have two platters, each holding 30GB of data. Toshibais current highest capacity drive, which is a 40GB model, includes two disc platters, each capable of holding 20GB of data.

The story does not quote Ms. Lee directly about the new drive or Appleis reported decision to use the drive. Ms. Lee is quoted as saying Toshiba has had many enquires from companies such as Apple about the 60GB drive. "You wouldnit believe how many enquiries weive had," she said.

The story said Ms. Lee made the comments during the Computex 2004 exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan.

"We have an interesting article and not a lot of detail," Amy Dalphy, marketing manager for Toshibais American hard drive division, told the Mac Observer, Wednesday. "I can tell you officially, Toshiba has not announced any product and when we are ready to make an announcement about any form factor, we will announce it in a worldwide press release."

Ms. Dalphy said Toshiba does not pre-announce products, and waits until products are in volume production. She would not say when an official announcement would be made on the reported new drive, but did say it would be later this summer or early fall. Ms. Dalphyis comments mirror those made of Ms. Lee that mass production will begin in July or August.

When asked to explain the news attributed to its Asian division, Ms. Dalphy said, "We donit really know (why this announcement was made). We donit understand the details, but officially, we have not made an announcement of this product and I canit answer any other questions or even confirm what has been reported."

Ms. Dalphy would also not confirm that Apple has already committed to using the new miniature hard drive. "It is our standard policy not to discuss who our customers are that use our products as original equipment add-ons," she said.

If the news of Appleis use of the 60GB miniature drive is true, it adds credence to rumors of new, higher capacity iPod models coming from Apple before the holiday season. Mac discussion forums across the Web as of late have speculated on such an upgrade in the September time frame. If the comment by an official Toshiba manager is true that the 60GB drive will be in full product in July or August, it would add credence to speculation of new iPod models hitting store shelves approximately one month later.

At present, Apple uses Toshibais 1.8-inch drive in its larger, white-colored iPod models, but uses a 1.68-inch, 4GB hard drives from Hitachi in its iPod Mini music player. Neither the Hitachi-made or Toshiba-made miniature drives are used in any other Apple product.

Apple declined to comment on Toshibais planned drive or whether the company will be using the drive in any new device.

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