updated 08:45 am EDT, Wed March 28, 2007
iPhone Triggering Shortage
Apple's mobile devices are likely to cause a major shortage of NAND flash memory later this year, according to Samsung's semiconductor chief Chang-Gyu Hwang. The Korean executive told a gathering of mobile developers that the iPhone in particular, other mobile phones, as well as high-capacity 4-8GB flash players (such as the iPod nano) were set to create a "severe" drought in flash storage where demand would far outstrip the available supply. This was in part due to many flash suppliers deliberately cutting back their production levels, Hwang said.
Portable hardware makers have been increasingly turning to flash within the past two years as the storage capacity has grown, with all of Apple's music players save for the flagship fifth-generation iPod now using the technology. It and other companies also depend on flash almost exclusively for phone memory due to the technology's skip-proof and more portable nature.
Apple is widely believed to have helped trigger a rapid drop in the price of flash memory since the introduction of 2005's iPod shuffle and iPod nano.