Innovating again… Fusion Drive

I must say that the recent Apple event (on 23rd of October 2012) brought true excitement and surprises. Everyone predicted a refresh to the MacBook Pro, and the new iPad Mini, however, the excitement was in the new iMac, the new fusion drive and possibly the fourth generation iPad.

Among all of these, I admired the innovation of the Fusion Drive. As data grows over years, people demands disks with larger capacities. Several giga bytes of data are not un-normal to see nowadays on a movie, document or drawing file. People wants disks with a Tera or more of data sizes. In the same time, performance was an issue. Opening, updating and saving a giga size file is a somehow a very slow process on a typical hard disk. Once Apple brought the flash storage , for the first time, on MacBook Air, the performance was astonishing. People loved it and the new MacBook Air sold like hot cakes.

Users were always confronted with the paradox of capacity vs. speed. If you want more space, you sacrifice on the speed and vice versa.

Not anymore! Today, Apple proved to everyone that it’s still innovating. On the first anniversary of the late Steve Jobs, Apple brought some new interesting ideas to the marketplace. And it looks to be the first and the leader. I admired the way Fusion Drive is supposed to work. It makes very sense to intelligently switch files between the flash storage and hard disks based on user habits and usage. I personally predict that the new fusion drive is the new game changer; not the iPad Mini or other upgrades Apple brought in this event.

It’s a matter of time till we see how customers will perceive this new innovation and whether they will line up to refresh their current Mac devices.

On another front, iPad Mini was pretty much anticipated by many and with the same specifications, nonetheless it is also perceived that Apple main target behind this new product is to support their iBookstore, which despite the big number Apple announced today (400 million downloads in less than 3 years! Notice how Apple was selective in choosing the words ’download’ and ’books’, so we don’t know the share of paid books out of these and the number of unique purchases, and whether downloading the same book on various devices is considered one or many!), despite this number, no one at Apple told us how the mini will support and lead the growth for iBookstore, and how it competes with the main leading e-readers like the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite and Kobo Glo.

The biggest differentiating factor between the iPad family and other e-readers is battery life. Most e-readers has a battery life for weeks or months while the new mini with its 10 hour battery life does not seem to stand high. So it looks like customers; including me, would still prefer to use an e-reader over an iPad or an iPad mini.

Cheers

Mouaz Al Zayyat

Toronto, Canada

 

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