updated 02:35 pm EST, Thu December 9, 2010
Toshiba power outage hurts NAND flash, maybe Apple
Toshiba today said it had a power outage at its Yokkaichi plant that could affect flash memory supply. The failure at 5:21AM yesterday stopped production and won't be fixed until sometime Friday. Without the two days of production, the company said it could lose as much as 20 percent of its planned flash shipments for January and February.
No estimates were given as to whether this would affect the ability of Toshiba or any of its customers to ship devices on time.
The outage could have a potentially major impact on Apple, which has occasionally used Toshiba in the past and now is using it primarily for the MacBook Air's SSD. Apple uses several chips for each of the ultraportables and may be shipping many more Air systems than it has in the past, with as many as 750,000 units arriving this fall. Apple so far isn't showing signs of shortages, as it recently cleared up a small backlog on 11-inch systems.
The impact on Apple may be muted, according to a research note from Gleacher & Co analyst Brian Marshall. He noted that Apple also depends on Samsung and Hynix. There aren't any shortages in parts, and it could also draw on the Intel-Micron partnership if necessary, Marshall said.
Most of the supply crunch is instead believed to surround other iPad components, such as the 9.7-inch LG Display screen.