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How the Floppy Disk Became Obsolete

If you’re of a certain age, then you probably remember the floppy disk with fondness. Though archaic by today’s standards, the floppy disk was understandably revolutionary when it was introduced. Could 80KB of storage really fit onto something that thin? Of course, that seems silly by today’s comparisons when that amount of storage wouldn’t even hold a photograph. The majority of us don’t use floppy disks anymore, but why is that? How did the floppy disk become obsolete?

First of all, floppy disks aren’t particularly reliable. They were in casing, but even then they were prone to damage. The data on them was even lost often when the disk had no physical damage. No storage medium is never one hundred percent secure, that’s why we all backup, but floppy disks weren’t the best regardless.

Perhaps the main reason that floppy disks became obsolete was that storage demands increased rapidly. The most popular floppy disk had capacity of 1.44 MB, with the largest only clocking in at a few megabytes. Again, nothing nowadays, but when they were introduced the size of files was far smaller. You could even fit entire games on a floppy disk!

As people began to shift to digital songs and using high resolution pictures, floppy disks just couldn’t cater for the amount of data that people needed to store. Applications also started getting more advanced, demanding greater storage requirements due to the amount of data that they were producing.

As such, people started moving to CD, which were capable of holding far more storage than the floppy disks. Typical disks had around 700 MBs, allowing for vast amounts of photos, videos or songs in comparison. Because of this change, demand for the floppy disk started to plummet – people needed a medium that would store the amount of data they had and the humble floppy just didn’t cut it anymore.

USB technology was also on the rise, which became a truly superior alternative. Not only did they have a higher storage capacity, but they were also more reliable due to the flash medium. On top of this, they were also much more portable; being very slight in size meant that people didn’t have to carry round comparatively bulky floppy disks.

As a result of all of this, Apple took the decision to remove floppy disks from their computers. You won’t find a floppy disk slot in a modern system anymore, but Apple were the first to make this move. You’ll see that the firm are still doing similar things to this day, like the removal of the headphone port on the iPhone.

The end result? Manufacturers stopped producing floppy disks and shops stopped selling them. There was no more demand for the floppy, thus it wasn’t cost effective for them to keep being produced. With the advance of technology, you can now use the internet to quickly transfer data and keep it in the cloud, which was merely a glimmer in the eye of the floppy disk. Who knows where we’ll be in five and ten years’ time?


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