One of the things they taught us at ID school was that a product about to go extinct will, in its dying design throes, begin to resemble its successor; its designers will fruitlessly mimic the look of the incoming technology in a bid to prevent the incumbent from being eclipsed. Thus landline phones, the thinking goes, will in their last iteration look like cell phones, and even muscle cars like the Mustang of the '60s sadly started to look more like the Honda CVCC's of the '70s.
Which brings us to an interesting question: What will external hard drives look like before they disappear? Since the replacement technology--offsite storage--is invisible, what will they mimic?
In some cases they will mimic...nothing, or should we say, nothingness. For example LaCie's line of Sam-Hecht- and Neil-Poulton-designed hard drives are ultra-minimal black boxes with as much in the way of visual features as Wonder Woman's invisible jet.
On the other hand Seagate, which announced its revamped-design hard drives this morning, is mimicking something else sitting on some customers' desks--Apple laptops.
Both companies' designs seems to be trying to disappear, either vying for invisibility or seeking to blend into objects already on the desk surface like a chameleon. Almost like they're saying "Maybe if they can't see us, they won't throw us away!"