updated 11:45 am EDT, Wed July 18, 2007
Apple Quarter of All Flash
Apple is poised to consume a full quarter of worldwide flash memory production during the summer, according to a new report from DRAMeXchange. The research group estimates that while Apple is receiving an exceptionally large amount of NAND flash for the iPhone and iPods during the summer in anticipation of the holiday season, this in tandem with production troubles with newer, denser flash chips is creating a shortage for other companies that might want flash for their own devices. The cut in readily available memory has sent prices upwards for the past three months to try and curb demand, and has already forced some electronics makers "unable to secure" some of the storage they need, DRAMeXchange says.
The price changes may not immediately affect Apple and some other established firms, many of whom already have fixed price contracts in place. However, the researchers believe that memory factories can only scale their efforts over the course of the next two to three quarters, which would leave an immediate shortfall in the summer and create problems until suppliers are genuinely ready in 2008.
Although DRAMeXchange does not cite sources for its numbers, its report echoes warnings from Samsung as early as March, when the Korean company's chief said a reduction of factory output along with the iPhone could put extreme pressure on global flash memory supplies.