updated 05:00 pm EDT, Fri August 19, 2005
iPod NAND supplies
Demand for Apple's iPod is greater than ever before, and Apple reportedly has plans to buy as much as 40 percent of the NAND flash output of Samsung Electronics during the second half of this year, according to market research firm iSuppi. As Apple moves from hard disk-based iPod production to a flash-based mini model of 4GB capacity, other NAND customers to search for other suppliers of flash memory, according to EE Times. Memory analyst Nam Hyung Kim of iSuppi in a report issued today said sources told him that Samsung has offered Apple "extremely low prices on its NAND parts" in the hopes of convincing Apple to switch from hard-disk storage to NAND memory for the 4GB iPod.
Samsung has offered to match prices from the hard disk suppliers, despite current microdrive prices being roughly half the cost of the equivalent flash solutions, according to the report. Samsung has plans to boost its NAND flash bit production by 190 percent this year, anticipating the increased demand. Apple's demand for the 4GB iPod mini could amount to as much as 190 million to 280 million additional 256MiB-equivalent capacity NAND parts, representing between 11 and 22 percent of worldwide Nand flash output. Apple is also talking to Hynix Semiconductor about sourcing NAND parts, and that could result in a fab capacity switch from DRAM to Nand flash at Hynix, according to Kim.