If all goes according to plan, iPod music players will become available with 80GB hard drives, it has been revealed. Toshiba, whose tiny hard drives power Apple Computer's iPods, have announced that they will begin mass production in mid-2005 of new 1.8-inch drives with capacities of 40GB and 80GB. These drives will almost certainly wind up in iPods.

"Our research confirmed the superior potential of perpendicular recording technology, and we have now achieved the core head and disk technologies required for reliable, high-density recording." Kazuyoshi Yamamori, vice president of Toshiba's storage device division.

Apple is expected to reveal new iPod models using the greater capacity hard drives, as well as low-end models based on flash memory at the forthcoming Macworld trade show in San Francisco in January.