In the face of stiff competition from optical media and compact high-speed hard drives,
today announced the third generation of its Zip technology with the release of the
Zip 750MB drive. The drive released today is a USB 2.0 version, but company officials told MacCentral that a FireWire version will be released in early fall.
Iomega’s Zip products became very popular when they were first released because of their large storage capacity — at the time 100MB. Since then consumers have been given many other options for backing up data, sharing and archiving information such as CD-R and CD-RW, which can store approximately 650MB of data for a few dollars a disk.
“When people are talking about sharing photos, a CD is probably the right solution, but when it’s critical information they are backing up and archiving and want to have secure, easy access to, then Zip is the tool of choice,” said Tim Dammon product general manager, front office storage, Iomega Corp.
More recently, the availability of DVD-R and DVD-RW drives, especially in Apple’s desktop and iMac lines, have given consumers the ability to store up to 4.7GB of data for $10-$15 a disk for a DVD-R.
Those two options (CD-R and DVD-R) are multifunctional for most users; not only do they use them as a cheap method to archive data, but they can also be used to make music CDs and DVD movies for home use.
Iomega says they still have a loyal customer base that want the Zip technology for specific reasons.
“When we talk to people about why they choose Zip, they tell us two things: one is ease of use and the second is the security and reliability the Zip media affords,” said Dammon. “They don’t have to worry about scratching their Zip disks and with the serialization of Zip disks they can be password protected at the disk level so all the information is very secure.”
Consumers have also found another option for reusable media in the past year — the FireWire hard drive. New hard drives on the market today boast fast transfer speeds using Apple’s FireWire technology with ever increasing capacities. You can find hard drives, 10GB and higher, that are small enough to fit in your shirt pocket and still store most if not all of your important files.
“People are using those [FireWire hard drives] for dynamic information or to extend the capacity at the desktop of their computer, as well as disaster recovery, but not so much for archiving or backing up,” said Dammon.
Dammon said Iomega has shipped 48 million Zip drives and 300 million Zip disks since their introduction. Currently the company is shipping 1 million drives each quarter, with 40 percent of those sales being the older 100MB technology. According to the company, 62 percent of Iomega’s drives are used in the home; 30 percent in government and enterprise; and 8 percent in education.
The new Iomega drive is backward compatible with older technology. It can read 100MB Zip disks, and read/write 250MB Zip disks.
While the version announced today is USB 2.0, Dammon said Mac customers could get their first glimpse of a FireWire drive at Apple Expo Paris in September. The FireWire drive will ship in early fall.
The Iomega Zip 750MB is available today for $179.95; the Mac OS X (and OS 9) compatible FireWire version will cost $199.95 when it becomes available. Zip disks will cost $12.49 per disk or you can buy them in packs or 8 or ten from Iomega. The drive will also include Mac OS X compatible Automatic Backup (formerly QuickSync).
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