Though the announcement of the iPad mini was not a surprise at Apple’s product event on Tuesday, Apple did introduce a new memory drive few people in the audience had heard of called Fusion Drive, for the newly released iMac and Mac mini.
Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, unveiled Fusion Drive during his presentation of the new Mac products and upgrades. Fusion Drive is an optional feature that merges a 128GB flash drive (SSD) with a 1TB or 3TB hard drive — both into a single volume. It can be purchased as part of the new Macs, and in lieu of the traditional HDD or the latest Flash drives.
Schiller said the hybrid Fusion Drive will mean faster read and write performance for disk-intensive tasks and applications, such as increased speed for importing photos into Aperture and iPhoto, faster video rendering in iMovie, a 1.7x boot system rate for launching apps, and much more. Fusion Drive kicks in automatically with no prior need for setup or drive management.
Fusion Drive works by shifting your most used apps onto the SSD for increased performances. Schiller said that all the default applications (e.g. iCal, Safari, iMovie) that come installed in the new Macs are automatically managed by Fusion Drive, if purchased. Fusion Drive will automatically figure out what apps you use the most, and which of them will benefit from using the special flash drive rather the traditional HDD.
The extra cost of the Fusion Drive was not announced at Tuesday’s event and demonstration.