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Why IBM and Apple are Poised to Dominate the Edge

July 7th, 2008 · 1 Comment · Investing

Consider the following; IBM announced back in April that they were working to take the market a breakthrough technology called, “Racetrack Memory.” For those the uninitiated, Racetrack Memory will allow for the storage of vast quantities of data in super-fast chips that make our current hard drive and RAM configurations look like stone knives and bearskins in comparison.

Racetrack Memory could mean the ability to store hundreds of thousands of movies (if not more,) on a video iPod. Even a tiny iPod shuffle could contain every song ever recorded.

Your PC hard drive would become obsolete overnight because you’d simply store all of your data, documents, operating system(s), and applications in a vast RAM-style arena. You’d have immediate access to any and all files desired — and at lightning fast speeds.

Oh, and don’t worry about power loss — put that PC in a closet for ten years unplugged (heck, remove the batteries,) and all the data will be ready and waiting for you when you boot it back up.

In addition, there is no physical movement so battery life in all devices will be extended noticeably.

IBM anticipates having product to market as soon as 2015. Is this too optimistic? When you consider that IBM sold off (dumped?) all of their hard drive patents to Hitachi back in 2002, it could be that they seriously consider the game to be over for spinning discs.

Obviously this would revolutionize consumer electronic devices and if it all works as intended, PC manufacturers will be begging and pleading with IBM for licenses (and/or physical product.) This could make the current “tax” paid by PC builders to Microsoft look like chump change.

Oh, there is one company that likely won’t have to pay this tax — and they’re posed to be manufacturing Racetrack Memory devices before Dell and HP even get to read the licensing agreement. Once again, it appears that Steve Jobs has leapfrogged the competition.

Apple recently purchased the microprocessor fab plant PA Semi and there has been lots of speculation as to why this was done. To many this move seemed “insane“, as this plant specializes in Power PC chip technology which Apple abandoned years ago when it switched to Intel for the Macintosh product line. The answer to this puzzle may lie in the cross-licensing agreements that the acquired company owned. Since PA Semi had rights to a library of patents including Power PC technologies, I’m speculating that they also now have rights to Racetrack Memory If so, Apple could be all set to produce these game-changing chips as soon as they make it out of the laboratory.

When you consider that Snow Leopard (the upcoming Mac operating system) is engineered to address an unprecedented 16 terabytes of memory, and that the MacBook Air is designed to run without a hard drive (using flash memory.) It appears Apple has set the stage to deliver products that will truly change everything.

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 peter // Jul 7, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    That’s pretty insightful. Lately, Apple seems to be doing everything right. Racetrack sounds like it’s should be in every kind of technology out there. I’d like to see this in my digital camera or better yet an HD video camera. This concept is sure a long ways from when I purchased my 100MB Iomega Zip Drive back in 1994.

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