Toshiba Announces iPod-Ready 80GB Mini Drive

Toshiba Corp. announced Tuesday a 80 gigabyte (GB), 1.8-inch hard drive that will set off speculation of a new, higher capacity Apple iPod model later in 2005.

the 80GB MK8007GAH is the largest capacity yet achieved in the 1.8-inch form factor to date, the company said. It will begin mass production in July of next year. The unit measures 3.11 x 2.12 x 0.315 inches and weighs 2.18 ounces.

Toshiba also announced a 40GB version - the MK4007GAL - that weighs in at 1.799 ounces, and will start production in April.

What makes the drives ground breaking is the development of a new magnetic disk structure called iperpendicular recordingi, where bits of data are written to the disks surface standing on end instead of laying flat, and thus taking up less space. The result: more data - 33% more in the 40GB model - can be stored on the same platter found, for example, on the Toshiba drive now used in Appleis iPod photo.

The new 40GB (left) and 80GB Toshiba drives will ship in 2005.

Both drives spin at 4200 revolutions per minute, offer an average seek time of 15 milliseconds and have Ultra DMA 100 interfaces.

The Japanese manufacturer would not discuss customers that have committed to using the new 80GB model, but Apple has been a long standing customer for its 20GB, 40GB and 60GB, 1.8-inch drives in the past few years.