updated 04:10 pm EST, Fri February 27, 2009
Flash prices climb
Speculation that Apple has been ordering large quantities of NAND flash memory and constraining global supplies has contributed to a recent surge in prices. An inSpectrum report claims that the mainstream 16GB multi-level cell (MLC) components appreciated over 40 percent through February. The spot price has jumped by eight percent just in the past week, following reports suggesting that preparations for the next-generation iPhone were reducing inventory levels for the memory modules.
The report also indicated that Samsung has been holding back from releasing its remaining stock to its distributors. The constrained supply further adds to the speculation regarding the size of Apple's current orders.
An analyst report points to a yet-unannounced iPhone as the reason for the dwindling memory inventory. Vijay Rakesh of ThinkEquity has told clients that the company is placing memory orders for an upgrade to the iPhone 3G or the rumored iPhone "nano."
Although NAND flash prices declined last year due to limited orders from Apple, the current situation could be contributing to a wider supply problem and driving prices higher, Rakesh noted.