Apple 60GB iPod Announcement Leaks
Toshiba hard drive manager officially confirmed a new 1.8-inch hard drive with a 60GB capacity would soon be in full production and that Apple had committed to buying the drive. The report clearly puts Apple in a difficult position to deny a new, higher-capacity iPod is coming and harks back to a similar screwup by graphics company ATI in 1999, which took a costly toll on its relationship with Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
A story by IDG News Service reports that the deputy manager of Toshiba’s Digital Media Network hard disk drive division technical department confirmed at a computer convention in Taiwan that the company plans to launch a 60GB version of its 1.8-inch drive in the coming months and that Apple has committed to buying the drive for use in one of its own products.
Apple Side of the Leak
Sources inside Apple confirmed late Wednesday that company executives are wondering, “what the hell happened? This is a major !@#$&* up and you don’t have to be a genius to figure out what is coming next from Apple,” said one source close to the iPod maker. “Apple is trying to get answers from Toshiba, but it appears they are just as in the dark as to what happened. Apple is not happy.”
Another source close to Toshiba confirmed Wednesday the company has fielded calls and e-mail from Apple executives since early Wednesday morning trying to smooth over angry executives who saw the report.
Officially, Toshiba does not discuss new products until they are in full production. In addition, the company never discusses who its customers are.
If the news of Apple’s use of the 60GB miniature drive is true and the time frame of July or August for full production of the Toshiba 60GB hard drive is correct, it is very apparent Apple is on the verge of announcing at least one new version of its iPod portable music player. At present, Apple’s white version of the iPod has a maximum capacity of 40GB, using Toshiba’s 1.8-inch drive.
Various sources have reported in the past month that Apple will begin later this year to more aggressively update its iPod product line on a more regular basis. Some sources have mentioned September as an opportune time.
The Toshiba gaffe harkens back to a similar one by graphics chip maker ATI in July of 1999 when it accidentally sent out a press release confirming Apple would use its RAGE 4XL chip in a new iMac model and RAGE 128 PRO standard in two Power Mac models before Apple had its chance to announce the new desktop Macs.
As a result, Jobs reportedly was so upset by the press release screw-up that he removed all mention of ATI and their products from his keynote presentation the next day and scrapped a portion of his presentation where an ATI executive was to take the stage and perform a demonstration of the company’s new RADEON graphics cards for the Mac. In addition, Jobs reportedly demanded that all ATI RADEON card options be removed from the company’s online store. It was some time before ATI products returned as options on the Apple online store or in Apple products.
Less than 24 hours since the ‘Toshiba blunder’ occurred, it doesn’t appear the hard drive report has scorched the relationship with Apple to the level of the ATI screw-up. But as one source put it, “This incident isn’t over yet.”