Following on from its collaborations with designer Neil Poulton on its Rugged Hard Disk and Phillippe Starck for its Blade Runner disk, LaCie has looked to France-based manufacturer of fine silverware, Christofle, to add a touch of class to its latest hard drive offering, the LaCie Sphère.
The Sphère is the second product LaCie and Christofle have collaborated on, following on from the Galet USB key released in 2011. To be unveiled at CES 2014, the new offering encloses a 1 TB HDD inside a spherical case of steel, that is stamped, silver-plated and polished in Christofle's silversmith workshop in Normandy.
With power supplied via a USB 3.0 cable, the shiny drive doesn't require a separate power cable and offers the speed advantages of USB 3.0. A single blue LED at the base of the device indicates the HDD status.
LaCie is also unveiling the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2, on which the company renewed its partnership with Neil Poulton, who has given the unit's aluminum enclosure a shiny, black finish.
The 1 TB drive packs two 500 GB PCIe Gen 2 SSDs in a RAID O setup, which when coupled with the USB 3.0 interface provides transfer speeds of up to 1,375 MB/s. This is up from the 635 MB/s speeds of the original Little Big Disk Thunderbolt and LaCie claims it is several times faster than any other mobile USB 3.0 HDD on the market.
Cutting the cords altogether is the new Fuel, which is the first product collaboration between LaCie and Seagate and is designed to add 1 TB of external storage to iPads, iPhones and Macs. With its battery providing up to 10 hours of operation, the Fuel creates its own Wi-Fi network to allow up to five devices to connect directly to it at once without requiring an internet connection.
However, if the drive is connected to the internet via Wi-Fi, it can also act as a hotspot, allowing multiple devices to share an internet connection. The Fuel is also AirPlay compatible, so video or audio files stored on the drive can be streamed to an Apple TV or AirPlay-compatible speakers.
The LaCie Sphère will sell for US$490 and be available in the first quarter of 2014, while the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2 will also be available sometime this quarter at a price yet to be announced. The Fuel is priced at $199 and will be "available soon."
LaCie's promo video for the Sphere can be seen below.