Apple to Manufacture Single 100 Million Gigabyte iPhone?
To the NAND flash memory business, Apple is a market maker and mover–and an increasingly insatiable one. The company first shook the NAND industry back in 2005 when it arranged to purchase up to 40 percent of Samsung Electronics’ holiday NAND output for use in it iPods. In 2008 it did so again, reportedly buying up 50 million 8GB-equivalent NAND flash chips from Samsung, an amount so large the company was forced to reduce its supply to other customers to fulfill its obligation to Apple (AAPL).
Now comes word that the company’s appetite has been renewed–and doubled. Industry sources tell DigiTimes that Apple has placed an order for 100 million 8Gb (1 gigabyte) chips from Samsung, an order so large it is reportedly causing a supply shortage. If correct, the DigiTimes report could lend a bit of credence to rumors of a low-end iPhone. Unless, of course, Apple plans to use them for something else entirely, (a single, massive 100 million gigabyte iPhone?)–also a distinct possibility.
Either way, contract prices for flash memory are likely to rise to unpleasant levels in the near future.