This is now!
How technology has changed
Zip drive WHAT WAS IT? Launched in 1994 by Iomega, the Zip drive (pictured) could read and write removable magnetic disks that looked a bit like 1.44MB 3.5in floppies but could store a huge 100MB each. It wasn’t the first high-capacity removable-disk system, but it was simple and cheap enough to appeal to consumers.
HOW HAVE THINGS CHANGED? In 1999, Israeli company M-systems patented an 8MB SSD built into a USB stick. It stored data on flash memory rather than a mechanically rotating magnetic disk. Floppies remained the favoured medium for everyday backups, but as USB ports became commonplace it was easier to share files with other users on a ‘stick’ – and USB stick capacities kept doubling every few months. Today, a USB 3.0 128GB stick costs around £30, storing 1,280 times as much as an original Zip disk for the same price.
These days, external hard drives offer the lowest costs per gigabyte, while online storage has replaced physical devices for many sharing and backup purposes.