Hard Disk Drives On Endangered Species List? – HDD Market Revenue Facing Double-Digit Decline In 2013

A market brief from IT information and analytics provider IHS iSuppli predicts that the relentless onslaught of tablets, smartphones and solid state drives (SSD) will cause global hard disk drive (HDD) market revenue to decline by 11.8 percent in 2013 from from $37.1 billion last year to an estimated $32.7 billion,mane then stay flat the following year -to about $32.0 billion in 2014.

The HDD industry will face myriad challenges in 2013, says Fang Zhang, analyst for storage systems at IHS. Shipments for desktop PCs will slip this year, while notebook sales are under pressure as consumers continue to favor smartphones and tablets. The declining price of SSDs also will allow them to take away some share from conventional HDDs. HDD gross and operating margins likewise will likewise decline as a result of continued price erosion. However, HDDs will continue to be the dominant form of storage this year, especially as demand for Ultrabooks picks up and hard drives remain essential in business computing, Zhang notes.


IHS iSuppli expects HDDs overall to maintain market dominance because of their cost advantage over SSDs, particularly when higher densities are involved and dollars per gigabyte are calculated. HDD costs and pricing are significantly lower than SSDs, with already falling HDD average selling prices expected to decline further this year by 7 percent.

Moreover, they expect HDDs will continue to be part of storage solutions even in Ultrabooks that make use of an SSD component. The “hybrid drive” solution, which combines conventional hard disk drives with what is known as a cache SSD module, provides of a superior price/value/speed equation compared with pure SSD-only alternatives.

IHS iSuppli also expects a major growth area for HDDs to be use of hard disk drives in the business sector, spanning the enterprise space, cloud storage, big data and big-data analytics since they represent the lowest cost of any storage medium now on the market, and consequently will remain the repository for the majority of digital content that needs backup and archiving. IHS says that toward the last quarter of this year, Western Digital is expected to launch a 5-terabyte Helium HDD, catering mostly to data centers for enterprise servers and storage applications, further propelling the HDD space into overdrive.

Western Digital vs. Seagate

The report also notes that Western Digital is expected to continue battling archrival Seagate Technology for market leadership in both revenue and shipments, especially in the enterprise business segment. While Seagate had a 50 percent share of the enterprise market last year, the introduction by Western Digital of its new helium technology could catapult the manufacturer to the top at the end of 2013, dethroning Seagate in the process.

Optical Drives vs. Extinction

In the parallel market for PC optical disk drives – home to discs like CDs and DVDs – losses in both revenue and shipments are similarly expected. The declines stem from a number of reasons, IHS iSuppli notes,including smaller chassis sizes for PCs, a shift in preference among consumers toward video streaming instead of using physical discs, and cost cutting from PC manufacturers that have lost interest in using optical drives.

Another challenge the optical disk drive industry is expected to encounter in 2014 is manifested in thinner PC designs, and IHS iSuppli suggests that Optical drives could eventually be phased out by PC makers altogether, as they already have been by Apple in all recent models, with only the holdover 2008 form factor non-Retina MacBook Pros, and the antediluvian Mac Pro Tower desktop still shipping with internal optical drives.m

Learn More: Ten Predictions for the HDD & ODD Industry for 2013:

The Changing Role Of Optical Drives

AppleDailyReport’s Dennis Sellers contends that optical media isnt going the way of the floppy disc, but its future is much more narrow and streamlined. Hint: a Blu-ray drive for your Mac may be worthwhile considering.

Sellers guesses that by this time next year, no Mac except for perhaps the Mac Pro (assuming theres one still around) will come with an optical drive. That’s a pretty safe bet, considering that among MacBooks, only the 2008 form factor non-Air, non-Retina models still have SuperDrives, and neither the current iMac nor Mac mini do either.

However, while he observes that the fate of CDs is now also also befalling DVDs thanks to the Cloud, Netflix, Hulu and the like, he thinks Blu-ray still has a future as a quality format, noting that downloading true 2X1 k resolution content from the Internet is still very time consuming, and you cant download 3D content., and hardware like Apples SuperDrive will still be needed by some to convert physical media into the digital files for playback on computers and mobile devices.

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MCE Ships Slot-Loading Blu-ray and DVD Burners for Slot-less Retina Macs

MCE Technologies, LLC (MCE) has announced immediate availability of the Fovea line of portable, slot-loading optical drives designed for the optical drive-less MacBook Pro with Retina Display, iMac, Mac mini, and MacBook Air. The MCE Fovea Extreme Drive is a portable, slot-loading Blu-ray recordable USB drive and the Fovea Drive is a portable, slot-loading DVD and CD Recordable USB SuperDrive. The MCE Fovea Extreme is available for $149.00, while the MCE Fovea 8X SuperDrive is $49.99.

Both drives are bootable and play and record to DVD-recordable and CD-recordable media while the Fovea Extreme also plays back commercial Blu-ray movies and records to BD and BD-XL recordable media.

Mac Blu-ray Player software is included with the Fovea Extreme and allows the playback of commercial Blu-ray movies within the Mac OS. User-authored Blu-ray movie discs can be created on the Fovea Extreme Drive using Adobe Premier Pro, Apple’s Final Cut Pro or Compressor software, or Roxio’s Toast Pro Software. Natively compatible with Mac OS 10.5.2 and later, including Mac OS 10.8 Mountain Lion, the recording of data on both drives is accomplished directly from the Finder by dragging and dropping with no additional software required.

DVDs, CDs, and Blu-ray media didn’t suddenly disappear when Apple decided to leave optical drives out of many of their new machines, stated Arnold Ramirez, president of MCE. Blu-ray and DVD movies, photos, music and software applications are still regularly distributed, archived, and shared on disc. Our Fovea lineup of drives assures users’ access to those important forms of media while extending the capabilities of the Mac to which it is connected.

The Fovea drives are slim and lightweight making them easy to carry alongside the laptop in a laptop bag and they feature an integrated USB cable for easy connectivity. The Fovea Extreme can record to 25GB single-layer and 50GB dual-layer write-once Blu-ray BD-R media at 6X (27MB/sec), to 100GB triple-layer and 128GB quad-layer write-once Blu-ray BD-R XL media at 4X (18MB/sec), and to 25GB, 50GB, and 100GB rewritable BD-RE discs at up to 2X (9MB/sec). Commercial Blu-ray movie playback requires an Intel Core 2 Duo processor running at 2.4GHz, or faster, and 4GB of RAM.

Both drives are fully compatible with all DVD and CD recordable media on the market today and can record to standard DVDR media at up to 8X (11MB/sec) speed, to DVDR DL (Double/Dual Layer) media at up to 6X (8.25GB/sec) speed, to DVD RW at up to 8X speed, to DVD- RW at up to 6X, to DVD-RAM at up to 5X speed, to CD-R at up to 24X speed and to CD-RW at up to 16X speed. Both drives are compatible with all Macs with a USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 ports.

The MCE Fovea Extreme Slot-Loading 6X Blu-ray Recordable USB Drive is $149 (USD) and includes Mac Blu-ray Player software and a rewritable BD-RE disc. The MCE Fovea Slot-Loading 8X USB SuperDrive is $49.99. Both the Fovea Extreme and Fovea are available for immediate shipment. More information may be found at MCE Technologies online.

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