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iPods, iPhones breaking flash supply?

updated 10:00 am EDT, Fri April 27, 2007

Apple Flash Samsung Effect

Apple is pushing one of its instrumental flash memory suppliers to the breaking point, according to contacts within the memory industry. Those said to be close to talks between the iPod maker and electronics giant Samsung claim that Apple has ordered an exceptionally large number of NAND flash memory chips from the South Korean firm that the sources claim should cover all iPod and iPhone models for the second half of the year.

Causing the particular crisis is an order of between 400 to 500 million four gigabit (512MB) chips, the sources say. The quantity is allegedly 10 to 15 percent higher than Samsung had agreed to produce and may well push the company past what it can realistically manage in the given timeframe. Representatives are equally worried that the order could backfire and leave Samsung with more stock than it can sell if iPod or iPhone sales fall short.

No indication was made as to which particular Apple media players would use the Samsung memory order, but the same sources also claimed that fellow Korean semicondutor firm Hynix was under similar pressure. It reportedly had "barely enough" factory resources to fulfill larger memory orders for the summer.

While the reports have yet to be corroborated, they do reflect an increasing shift towards the use of flash in Apple's portable devices, including the upcoming iPhone. Samsung has also been readying 8GB flash chips that should allow larger-capacity players within the same timeframe as the claimed supply spike.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. bfalchuk

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2003


    Math anyone?


    "order of between 400 to 500 million four gigabit (512MB) chips"

    So, a 4 GB chip is only 512 MB? Why on Earth would Apple need 400-500 million 4GB chips for the rest of the year? If they sell 10 MM iPhones and 20 MM iPod nanos with an average of 6 GB each (mix of 2, 4 and 8 GB models), that's 180 MM GB. If you order that in 4 GB chunks, that's 65 MM 4 GB units.

    Maybe the math is 400-500 MM 512 MB chips that get grouped into 2, 4 and 8 GB NAND flash units. Could that be what ya'll mean? That gets you 200-250 MM GB, which is still very high...too high.

  1. Tins

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2007


    bjalchuk, your an idiot

    Their saying the 4GB chips are made up of 4 individual 512mb ICs. Perhaps you should do your homework before berating someone who was right in the first place. Congrats, you get the dumbass of the week award.

  1. koolkid1976

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2003


    gigabit = Gb, not GB

    Gigabyte = GB. It seems the article meant 4Gb, 512MB chips. The 4Gb could represent the speed, but I don't know enough about Flash Memory to know if that makes sense.

  1. koolkid1976

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2003



    I guess that didn't come out right since subject titles are not capitalized here. Lets try again.

    gigabit = Gb, not GB.

  1. fashizzle

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2003


    tins, YOU'RE an idiot

    Maybe before you berate someone in such a smart alec way, you should take steps to properly learn how to type it:

    YOU'RE: short for you "you are", as in "Tins, you're the dumbass of the weak award recipient!"

  1. dampeoples

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Jul 2002


    Weak award?

    Is this a strength contest?

  1. vasic

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005


    leave it to...

    ...leave it to the arrogant ones to provide the misspellings and poor English for this thread...

    One byte (B) is made up of 8 bits (b). One kilobyte (kB) is 1024 bytes. Same for Megabyte (mB) - 1024 kB. Now, the ratio between bits and bytes is a bit more complicated: 8 bits (one byte) gives you values between 00 - ff hex (i.e. 0-255 decimal). Sixteen bits give you 0-65,535 decimal; 24 bits makes a bit over 16 million, 32 bits makes around 32 billion, etc.

    I'll stop here and leave those with better math skills (and a bit more time on a Monday morning) to do the math for 4GB (512MB) chips mentioned in the story.

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