Apple patent details hybrid drive system based on environmental state

By on September 29, 2011, 3:00 PM

The US Patent & Trademark Office has published a patent from Apple that details a hybrid drive system using a traditional hard drive and flash memory. Unlike current hybrid systems that focus solely on performance gains, Apple’s system would be used to prevent data loss in notebooks as well as boost system speed.

As described by Patently Apple in layman’s terms, the system would be comprised of a hard drive, flash memory, an interface circuit and a control logic. When data needs to be written to the hard drive, the control logic will do just that. But in the event that there is a change in environmental state during the write operation, the control logic will write that data to the flash memory.

Environmental state changes could include things like a change in temperature, acceleration of the hard drive (dropping the notebook) and/or vibration of the HDD. In addition to backing up data to flash, one or more transducers (heads that read data on the hard drive) may be locked briefly to prevent damage to the platter.

Additionally, the patent indicates that Apple could also use the technology to store the operating system and basic system services on the flash memory, resulting in SSD-like performance.

Hybrid storage technology has been around for a few years now and the same can be said for locking hard drive heads when excessive movement is detected. Seagate’s Momentus XT caches data using flash memory alongside a traditional spinning platter to boost overall performance. Intel’s Smart Response Technology on Z68 boards essentially does the same thing by combining a physical hard drive with a solid state drive, although much more effectively than Seagate's 2.5-inch all-in-one offering.

User Comments: 10

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Guest said:

Any word on then iJarvis is going to come out?

Guest said:

Another shitty patent from Apple that they will use to sue everyone else for no reason other than to stop better than Apple competing products.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Another shitty patent from Apple that they will use to sue everyone else for no reason other than to stop better than Apple competing products.

I agree that the patenting thing is out of hand, but Microsoft is making over $400 million a year on Android sales from patents they own. It is on the front page as of now. Did you comment in that thread?

Guest said:

I'm not a really a big fan of technology patents either, but Microsoft has a good deal of justification since Google creates free software for smart phones that is dominating the market and at the same time using technology owned my Microsoft and other companies to develop this software.

I would be pretty miffed over this too if they were using multiple patents I owned to saturate a market with free software.

Cota Cota said:

Note that in most of the cases, this kind of "Green" like tech doesn't do a notable impact on the world (not including the performance increase in this device), specially if you are going to but a new one that is 1mm more slim 4 months later xP

SammyJames said:

I'm so happy that Apple cares so much about me and my laptop. Hey -- Apple -- I'm really looking forward to your patent running out on that neat-o magnetic power connector thingy. Then I'll be able to buy a netbook that costs about one-quarter of the price of your lowest-priced MacBook.

Thanks Apple!!! Thank you for your innovations. We just don't feel like paying you a cent for technology that will, eventually, cost a lot less...

Guest said:

Yeah, it comes out the day you stop asking pedantic questions.

nigel said:

An interesting Patent in that Apple seems to have recently moved away from HDD to SSD,

So is this patent a way for Apple to manage storage in the cloud and maybe find a way around costly SANs whilst improving performance.

Wonder what will happen if the flash memory fails as well....

Guest said:

Or just use a SSD in the first place.

SammyJames said:

This patent may or may not be defensible. The problem with it is that it is solely software-dependent. Now, I'm not saying that software isn't patentable. But trying to show that this is that much different from Seagate's or Intel's offerings might not fly in court. And as we've all seen, when you get too nitpicky about whether your patent is THAT much different or better than another's, you typically lose (see: Apple versus Microsoft on "feel" in operating system user interfaces...)

I agree that this seems like a stretch. Why can't Apple just deliver -- by offering better customer service, slashing its prices, and getting into the same kinds of things that people REALLY use their computers for?

[Oh -- that's right -- I'm sorry, my brain just froze temporarily. I forgot that this is APPLE that we're talking about -- the shi-shi maker of housewives's dreams, boxed neatly in chrome-colored titanium-glossed aluminum and glass...]

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