A magnetic head for thermally-assisted writing of data to a disk is disclosed. In one illustrative example, the magnetic head includes a write head element and a heating element which is a resistive infared radiator. The heating element is coupled to at least one via pad which is exposed on an outer surface of the magnetic head. This via pad may be the same pad utilized for the write head element or for a read sensor. The heating element is formed beneath or within the pole tip such that it is able to transfer heat to a portion of the disk before the write head element can write data to it Advantageously, the heater facilitates the writing of data to high coercivity media.

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> Actuator latch with variable retention force

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