updated 05:40 pm EDT, Wed August 5, 2009
iPhone and Flash Mem Spike
Apple's voracious use of NAND flash memory for iPhones could be the key spark in the entire industry over the next few years, iSuppli said today in a new study. The smartphone's existence is estimated to help multiply revenue in the business by 5.6 times from its 2008 numbers to $932.5 million by 2013. Much of this comes from Apple's insistence on stepping up the amount of memory with each upgrade. By pushing the capacity of the iPhone up by four from 8GB to 32GB, the company not only demands more memory itself but is indirectly pushing up the amount of memory others need to carry to remain competitive.
All of the iPhone's immediate competitors typically now either have at least 8GB of built-in memory, such as the Palm Pre, or else now bundle in an 8GB microSDHC card, as with the BlackBerry Storm, Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and BlackBerry Storm. Only the Nokia N97 matches the iPhone 3GS' capacity, however, and most of these often equal the iPhone's $199 price while holding half the storage. The average amount of storage on a phone should swell from just 1GB last year to 5.8GB by the 2013 mark.
Apple also depends heavily on flash memory for all iPods save for the classic and uses solid-state drives as options in all MacBook Pro models. The company recently strengthened its commitment above and beyond the usual by committing to a $500 million advance order from Toshiba, one of its regular suppliers and the largest competitor to Samsung in flash memory.