updated 08:45 am EST, Fri March 5, 2010
iPad flash crunch may make SSD too expensive
Apple's impending launch of the iPad may hamper the ability of other companies to use solid-state drives, those within the hard drive business claimed on Friday. The company reportedly already consumes as much as a third of all supplies of NAND flash memory to make iPhones and iPods, and the addition of a third primarily flash-based product could tighten supplies further. By reducing availability, Apple could force the price of the remaining supply to go up and render SSDs more expensive to make.
Flash manufacturers have been increasing the amount of memory they can make at once by developing denser memory at 30 nanometers or smaller, but prices have so far still been on the rise this year, according to the DigiTimes tips. While 20nm memory could solve this, it wouldn't arrive until the second half of 2011, or well after the immediate supply crunch.
SSDs did increase in capacity over the course of 2009, culminating in 512GB solid-state drives that shipped in a handful of systems, but prices with few exceptions didn't decrease substantially over the period. A 256GB drive can cost as much as $1,000 depending on its performance and predicted longevity, while 128GB drives are more likely to cost near $500.