Time Machine could give hard-drive sales a jolt

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My friend and frequent Macworld contributor Kirk McElhearn were having a discussion about Leopard and its Time Machine back-up feature the other day. We were talking about whether or not people would use Time Machine, even though it would probably require most of them to invest in an external (or internal on some Macs) hard drive. I argued that, if it works as Apple has described it, Time Machine would get used and would inspire people to spend the money on that hard drive. Kirk felt that the need to invest in hardware to use Time Machine would prevent many from using it.

Neither of us will know who is correct, of course, until long after Leopard’s October 26 release date. Today, however, I think I got a small peek at the general trend. This morning I ordered my copy of Leopard online from the Apple Store. (Yes, I know it’s $20 cheaper at Amazon. I had a gift certificate for the Apple Store.) At the conclusion of the order process, the Apple Store displays a page showing you what others who purchased Leopard also bought. And what did I see when I completed my order? Well, these were the top three products:

Two 500GB drives and a 1TB drive in the top three spots, though one might wonder how a “Ships: Discontinued” item can be a top seller. To me at least, that implies that Leopard is going to make hard drive vendors very, very happy. How about you? Are you planning on purchasing a new (or upgrading to a larger) external (or additional internal) drive due to the arrival of Leopard and Time Machine?

An earlier version of this blog post mentioned only FireWire drives, which led to some confusion over Time Machine's requirements. I have removed those references, and apologize for any confusion.

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