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LaCie's new hard drive is a $500 mirrored silver sphere

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Gallery Photo: LaCie Sphere and 2014 hard drive lineup
Gallery Photo: LaCie Sphere and 2014 hard drive lineup

External hard drives are a basic utility at this point, but LaCie has spent the last few years trying to make its products stand out with luxurious industrial design. In 2011, it teamed up with silversmithing company Christofle to produce a pebble-shaped USB key that currently sells for around $200. Last year, it announced a limited-edition hard drive created in partnership with designer Philippe Starck. And for 2014, it's introducing a new Christofle-designed hard drive, the 1TB LaCie Sphere. Plated in silver and polished to a shine, the Sphere resembles a kind of high-end Nexus Q, with a few tastefully unobtrusive logos engraved on the side. At the bottom, a single USB 3.0 cable connects and powers the hard drive, with a blue status light set into the base. All of this is undeniably classy, but it comes at a premium: the Sphere will launch later this quarter at $490.

LaCie's other new designer peripheral is the Culbuto flash drive, created by Constance Guisset and named after the round-bottomed French toy that bobs back up when knocked over. True to its name, it's a golden half-sphere topped with a rubber USB 3.0 key that will swing back on top if tipped; a 16GB version will soon be selling for $49. On the less flashy side, there's the Fuel, a 1TB wireless drive starting at $199 — while you can access media through AirPlay or apps for iOS, Android, and Kindle on it, it's apparently designed to transfer files from computers and iOS devices.

There's also an update to the Little Big Disk portable Thunderbolt drive, this time using Thunderbolt 2. Where LaCie touts 635 MB/s maximum transfer speeds for the current Little Big Disk, it's now promising 1,375 MB/s and the distinction of buying one of the handful of Thunderbolt 2 drives on the market. Like the original, this Little Big Disk is designed for heavy video processing, and though we don't know how much it will cost when it launches this quarter, the current model sells for between $400 and $1,000.