You have an interesting concept, 'cept that those VST drives are huge by comparison. Personally, I felt they could make the iPod slightly wider -- same height just make the width match the height -- and that would give enough room for 2.5" notebook drives. With the buffering system Apple devised, a 2.5" HDD souldn't consume much more power. They could use a very low RPM drive if that were a concern. However, it'd, in general, be heavier, less durable, and of shorter battery life -- if not much bigger: 4x4" instead of 4x2.5".
Toshiba sells the 1.8" in two flavors -- 2.5GB and 5GB -- in a typeII PC-Card package. I don't think apple buys the drives with the steel PC Card casing on them, instead choosing to package a bare drive themselves. It's the only thing that can explain the price, as the PC-card retails for 499. :eek:
Maybe (a very slim maybe at that) Apple could have built the iPod with a typeII PC card slot. The drives would slot in and be quite safe in their enlosure. They'd be sold in a cheaper 2.5GB bundle, and a more expensive 5GB bundle. If/when bigger drives came out, you could just pic up whatever capacity you desire, or with an adaptor, you could use it as a card reader for your CF, MMC, memory stick cards. It would even offer some interesting possibilities for those who wanted a voice recorder. However, such a scheme effectively blocks Apple out of the update path: Why would I buy another iPod when I can just get a bigger HDD for the one I have?
PS. Anyone care to crack open their iPod and check whether or not the drive is encased in a PC-card sleeve?