updated 12:20 pm EDT, Mon July 27, 2009
Toshiba Flash Up for Apple
Toshiba is said today to be expanding its flash memory production in a way that may hint at continued large orders from Apple. Although it will push its factories making NAND flash memory for handhelds to about 90 percent capacity in August, the electronics giant is still believed by DigiTimes to be warning most companies that its on-demand stock will be short, a typical sign that a major firm is snapping up most of the extra supply. Apple is considered the most likely candidate both through its usual high demand for flash memory as well as its $500 million deal to guarantee supply in the long term.
The timing points to a very aggressive use of flash memory in Apple's handheld products for the end of the year. This most likely hinges upon its touchscreen devices like the iPhone 3GS and the iPod touch, both of which use Toshiba memory to achieve the very high-density storage needed for their limited physical space. Traditionally, Apple has doubled the capacity of its flash-based devices every year and is unofficially but widely assumed to be producing a 64GB iPod touch and a 32GB iPod nano this year.
Rumors have also circulated of an Apple tablet that would likely need flash memory due to a slim profile, though this isn't slated to be ready until early 2010 and wouldn't need accelerated flash memory production so soon.