24 years after authentic iMac, there’s nonetheless massive demand for floppies

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The iMac was the primary mass-produced pc to ditch the three.5-inch floppy disk, and the remainder of the business adopted quickly after — however that does not imply there is not a marketplace for them.

Whereas the floppy disk reigned supreme for almost 40 years, Apple selected to desert the format in 1998, when it launched the iMac G3. The corporate believed that user-writeable CDs, high-speed networking, and the web would render the disks out of date.

And, to a level, that is true. By 2006, the three.5-inch floppy disk was decidedly legacy. By 2015, it was almost extinct.

However, though no trendy gadgets supply a floppy disk drive, there’s nonetheless a wholesome marketplace for them.

Eye On Design spoke to Tom Persky, proprietor of He is the self-proclaimed “final man standing within the floppy disk enterprise.”

Persky did not intend on being the final bastion for these seeking to get their fingers on clean floppy disks. It simply occurred as he survived — and acquired from — opponents.

He initially bought his begin duplicating floppy disks. He notes that copying disks within the ’80s and ’90s was “nearly as good as printing cash.”

Nevertheless, because the floppy disk fell out of use, he discovered a brand new market — promoting clean disks. After big-box retailers stop carrying them, Persky rapidly grew to become the go-to for many who needed to get their fingers on the disks.

“So right here I’m, a small firm with a floppy disk stock, and I discover myself to be a worldwide provider of this product,” Persky says in an interview. “My enterprise, which was once 90% CD and DVD duplication, is now 90% promoting clean floppy disks. It is surprising to me.”

AppleInsider is conscious that till lately, the US Division of Protection was a heavy person of three.5-inch floppy disks. A smattering of programs requiring a 5.25-inch disks had been taken off service in about 2015.

In 2022, a good portion of Persky’s clients are hobbyists, usually wanting to buy a pair dozen disks at a time. His largest present buyer base, nevertheless, is industrial customers.

“These are individuals who use floppy disks as a technique to get info out and in of a machine. Think about it is 1990, and also you’re constructing a giant industrial machine of 1 form or one other,” he explains. “You design it to final 50 years and also you’d need to use the very best know-how obtainable. On the time this was a 3.5-inch floppy disk.”

Persky notes that many industrial customers are in aviation and the medical business. He suspects that essentially the most important industrial person is the embroidery enterprise.

He would not suppose the demand for floppy disks will ever solely die out, although he would not anticipate them to see the identical fervor as vinyl.

“Floppy disks are going to be somewhat bit extra like buggy whips or typewriters. They’ll be a collectible marvel of their time. Think about how onerous it will be to fabricate a brand new typewriter right this moment.”

“There are a variety of American authors who speak about the truth that they’ll solely write on a typewriter. It is one thing essential to them that’s tied into their inventive genius,” he muses. “I believe that floppy disks are going to be somewhat bit like that. You are not going to have the ability to change them.”

Current pricing for floppy disks are About $15 for an unused 10-pack, and $50 and up for a 50-pack. Recycled floppy disks may be had for as little as $20 for 50 disks.

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