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8Gb flash troubles cause Apple supply switch?

updated 08:40 am EDT, Fri August 3, 2007

Apple and Hynix Flash

Manufacturing problems with flash memory for iPods and iPhones may have triggered an emergency switch in suppliers from Hynix to Samsung to help cover supplies for the holiday season, say sources from memory producers in southeast Asia. Hynix is said to have encountered problems producing its latest multi-level cell (MLC) flash storage due to the combination of the denser, more complex memory format and a very small 60 nanometer process, forcing Apple to consider Samsung as an alternative. The problems began in June and could persist until September, the sources claimed.

Hynix, however, has partially denied the allegations. Problems encountered with the 60nm MLC memory were real but have already been resolved, the company said, also noting that it has had no trouble supplying Apple with the parts it needed and that no orders had been lost to Samsung.

No explanation has been given as to whether the MLC was for current or future Apple devices, but Hynix has explained that the more advanced storage would dominate its production and would climb as high as 90 percent by the end of the summer and that the majority of its flash would be newer 8 gigabit chips rather than 4 gigabit models. A smaller 57 nanometer process, which would allow more memory per chip, was also slated to begin production during the summer, but its capacity has not been revealed.

Demands by Apple for flash memory have reportedly caused significant problems in Asia regardless of technical difficulties, as the iPod maker could consume as much as 25 percent of all NAND flash produced in the second half of the year and may unintentionally force prices upwards as companies try to cool demand with higher costs.

by MacNN Staff




  1. wings_rfs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    MaCNN's Misleading HL

    MaCNN, you do this all the time. You throw up a headline that implies one thing but after reading the article one finds that the headline doesn't mean what you thought it meant. You ask the question, "8Gb flash troubles cause Apple supply switch?" but in the article you quote the flash supplier in saying that the answer to that question is no. Wouldn't that be kinda like a headline that goes "Saudi Arabia Runs Out of Oil?", then in the article tell us that the Saudis do indeed have plenty of oil. Misleading, huh? Wouldn't a much more accurate headline be "iPod Flash Supplier Fixes Process, Supply Not Threatened"? Oh but wait.... I see... a headline like that doesn't make me think that Apple may soon be in a world of hurt, and maybe I wouldn't click the link. Makes sense I guess, if you want drive-by clickers and not loyal readers.

    Keep this up and I'll be reading MacCNN as often as I do the National Inquirer (which is never).

  1. Commodus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Just reflects real doubt

    I disagree that the article title is misleading on the Apple/Hynix supply issue. After all, just because a company says one thing doesn't make it so. Sony swore up and down that it wouldn't cut the PS3's price... less than a week before it cut the price.

    Companies often stay quiet or actively lie to cover their behinds. After all, would you want to admit your problems were worse or that you'd lost some of a valuable contract?

  1. ff11

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Not quite. We don't know for a fact if Apple has switched some orders to Samsung. Some sources claim they have, Hynix claims they have not. Only Apple (and Samsung) would know for sure, but to get such information from Apple would be like getting blood from a turnip.

    By the way, a better analogy for the article would be if the headline read "Did OJ kill two people?", with the article telling you that OJ denied being the killer.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This is the usual "Our factory had a fire... quick, let's raise RAM prices" from the 90s. Wouldn't be surprised if world RAM prices started rising after this.

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