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Friday, November 14, 2008

IBM using lawsuit to keep Apple from giving you the last iPod you'll ever want?

A few weeks ago Apple hired Mark Papermaster to be its new head of development over the iPod and iPhone lines. All well and good... except that Papermaster was also previously the vice-president of the microprocessor and chip technology at IBM, and there was a "no-compete" clause in his contract with his former employer. Papermaster has countered that he's going to be involved in entertainment devices: something that IBM has never pursued and thus, the clause is invalid in his case. It's now wound up in the courts, where IBM is suing to keep Papermaster from working at Apple.

Now we know why IBM is really interested in locking Papermaster out of the Jobs Mob...

IBM has been developing something called "racetrack" memory and it's afraid that the technology it developed will wind up in the iPod and iPhone. And it's easy to see why Apple could conceivably be interested in implementing it in their own products:

- Racetrack memory could store 500,000 songs, compared to 40,000 in the current 160 gigabyte iPod classic. That is also equivalent to 3,500 full-length movies.

- Racetrack memory uses much less power. A single battery charge would last for weeks (though using the screen in video mode on an iPod with such storage would still drain some juice).

- Racetrack memory would last for decades, and not be subject to wear like hard drives or flash memory.

- Racetrack memory will be much cheaper to produce.

Sounds kewl, eh? The only real obstacle is that IBM still deems racetrack memory to be in the experimental stage, and that we won't be seeing it in products for another decade.

Here's a suggestion: Steve Jobs should direct Apple to buy out IBM. That way his company will have Papermaster's contract lock stock and barrel, and Apple can hustle like nobody's business to get racetrack memory in its toys by no later than 2010 or 2011.

A half-million songs on a single iPod. That would be like the last iPod that I would ever need :-)


Brian (Nunchux) said...

A half million songs on an iPod whose battery will last for weeks with memory that will last virtually forever. Sign me up.

Chris Knight said...

I had a thought this morning: imagine a digital video camcorder that was equipped with racetrack memory.

You could shoot practically all the footage you would ever need to capture for a project, without having to change tapes or flash memory cards, and then edit from the camera as you saw fit.

The thought of something like that with a Red camera is particularly alluring...