updated 12:50 pm EDT, Mon April 13, 2009
32GB iPhones guaranteed?
Apple's recent order of 100 million NAND chips from Samsung included 16Gb memory, claims an analyst from Lazard Capital Markets. The order was initially thought to have only 8Gb chips, the equivalent of 1GB each in terms of storage. With more 16Gb (2GB) memory however, Apple should be in a position to release 32GB iPhones, a move widely anticipated for this summer.
The Lazard analyst, Daniel Amir, notes that while Apple could in theory stack the 16Gb chips in a fresh wave of 16GB iPhone 3Gs, the company has been pushing hard to clear out inventory with a series of promotions. These include carrier discounts, contract-free phones and early upgrades within contracts. The memory could also in theory be used in iMacs, but Amir observes that Samsung is Apple's main iPhone supplier. "Historically, Apple's orders with Samsung have been for iPhone flash, since Samsung has worked with Apple in developing special packaging for the iPhone," the analyst comments.
The order could have the secondary effect of increasing prices in the rest of the flash market, potentially by as much as 20 percent, says Amir. Apple frequently produces such industry ripples, due to the quantities of memory it needs to satisfy popularity; another price jump could be welcome for memory makers, given an overall trend of decline in prices combined with the temporary effects of recession.