Seagate today unveiled the world's first 3.5-inch hard drive featuring 1TB of storage capacity per disk platter. This isn't just a big deal for Seagate; breaking the 1TB areal density barrier is a big milestone for the whole hard drive industry.

The company has released the Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB Hard Drive (also be available in capacities of 2TB, 1.5TB, and 1TB). Seagate's GoFlex Desk products are the first to feature it, delivering storage capacities with an areal density of 625 Gigabits per square inch, the industry's highest. Seagate is on track to ship the 3TBs drive, featuring just three disk platters, to the distribution channel in the middle of this year.

If you feel like you're having a déjà vu, don't be alarmed: it is completely warranted. Two months ago, Seagate launched the Barracuda XT. It is the company's current offering and has five platters with an areal density of 488 Gigabits per square inch.

It would appear that today's announcement is regarding a refresh, though beyond the new areal density, Seagate is not sharing anything else. Other specifications likely won't change, though it would be nice to see if the price tag will get an update. Most likely it won't, but we won't know till the new version of the drive launches in a few months.

GoFlex Desk external drives, which can sit either vertically or horizontally, are compatible with both Windows and Mac computers. Each drive includes an NTFS driver for Mac, which allows the drive to store and access files from both Windows and Mac OS X computers without reformatting.

"Organizations of all sizes and consumers worldwide are amassing digital content at light speed, generating immense demand for storage of digital content of every imaginable kind," Rocky Pimentel, Seagate Executive Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing, said in a statement. "We remain keenly focused on delivering the storage capacity, speed and manageability our customers need to thrive in an increasingly digital world."