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High prices make Apple reluctant to strike longterm NAND flash deals

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
Apple, which takes up the the lion's share of global NAND flash memory supply, has been reluctant to negotiate with suppliers in 2010 due to high prices.

According to DigiTimes, though demand for NAND memory in devices such as memory cards and flash drives has been soft, it has not significantly pushed down chip prices. Major chip suppliers like Samsung have given priority to profitable partnerships over shipment volume, which doesn't work to the advantage of major buyers like Apple.

In addition to slower demand, the situation has become even more volatile because tight foundry capacity is expected to disrupt shipments and have an effect on NAND flash pricing, industry sources reportedly said.

"Some NAND flash controller suppliers," the report said, "have indicated that their supply may not be able to satisfy customer demand in the second quarter if their foundry partners continue to see tight capacity, the sources said. This supply disruption is likely to impact NAND flash prices for the quarter."

Industry sources expect the situation to improve in the second quarter of 2010, when they believe Apple may start negotiating long-term supply contracts for NAND flash. The report noted that Apple's consumption of flash memory will "continue to play a significant role" in the industry this year.

Earlier this month, another report alleged that success for Apple's forthcoming iPad tablet computer could increase prices of solid state drives. Apple consumes nearly one-third of total NAND flash memory supplies, and its share is expected to grow even more with the launch of the iPad on April 3.

It was noted multiple times in 2009 that Apple had created a flash shortage, with its iPod and iPhone line of products consuming the largest share of NAND flash. Industry sources expect the price of NAND flash to continue to rise in 2010.

In addition to most of the iPod lineup and the iPhone, in early 2008, Apple embraced the solid state drive by offering it as an option in its MacBook Air, with a premium price.
post #2 of 41
Advantage for Apple to wait. Wouldn't lock in long term deals yet.
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post #3 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by FineTunes View Post

Advantage for Apple to wait. Wouldn't lock in long term deals yet.

And with billions in the bank Apple can afford to mildly suggest it might briefly consider the vague possibilities of buying a fab and maybe someday build some NANDs for themselves making some NAND maker stocks tank as perceived future demand plummet...

A game Google plays very well. We MIGHT buy this spectrum here...but all we really want is net neutrality on all spectrum. You guys really should consider what might happen if we're FORCED into competing with you guys since...well...we really don't need to profit in that market segment...
post #4 of 41
Apple should buy up all the NAND output in the world, and then cancel the orders at the last minute and scoop up all the surplus at fire sale prices.
post #5 of 41
Screw NAND. I want a 500GB iPad!
post #6 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by iLuv View Post

Apple should buy up all the NAND output in the world, and then cancel the orders at the last minute and scoop up all the surplus at fire sale prices.

This is a good idea!

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post #7 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

Screw NAND. I want a 500GB iPad!

I've had flash go bad on me more than once. If you plug a flash inside a flash drive adapter into an low quality USB port it can ruin the card. I suspect that's what happened to me.
post #8 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

Screw NAND. I want a 500GB iPad!

I think that would almost double the thickness and add weight for the drive and more batteries too. Flash chips are a millimeter thick and can fit on the same circuit board as every other chip. Standard Notebook hard drives are about 10mm thick (I don't think 500GB drives are in 7.5 thickness yet), then you want an extra millimeter above and below for extra shock absorption margin.
post #9 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

Screw NAND. I want a 500GB iPad!

err........ what do you think that will make your 500GB iPad a 500GB iPad? NAND also used in iPhone, iPod Touch and in SSD's.
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post #10 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

Screw NAND. I want a 500GB iPad!

My 17" MBP doesn't even have a 500GB drive
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MacBook Pro 17" Glossy 2.93GHz, iPad 64GB, iPhone 4 16GB, and a lot of other assorted goodies.

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post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by iLuv View Post

Apple should buy up all the NAND output in the world, and then cancel the orders at the last minute and scoop up all the surplus at fire sale prices.

If they did that, Jobs, Cook, and a few other would probably wind up sitting in a Federal prison.
post #12 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsNly View Post

My 17" MBP doesn't even have a 500GB drive

same here. In the 2.5" SSD 256GB seems the highest storage capacity. Would like to see SL support TRIM commands.

Came across this, but I haven't seen any
http://news.thomasnet.com/fullstory/538058
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post #13 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

Screw NAND. I want a 500GB iPad!

And they could call it "iPad Classic"

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

And with billions in the bank Apple can afford to mildly suggest it might briefly consider the vague possibilities of buying a fab and maybe someday build some NANDs for themselves making some NAND maker stocks tank as perceived future demand plummet...

Well, they already own PA Semi, and since fabbing a CPU is relatively similar to fabbing a flash memory chip, it wouldn't entirely be out of the realm of possibility...

-Clive
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post #14 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

Well, they already own PA Semi, and since fabbing a CPU is relatively similar to fabbing a flash memory chip, it wouldn't entirely be out of the realm of possibility...
-Clive

PA Semi designed chips, manufacturing was farmed out.

"Apple has purchased the fabless chip design company P.A. Semi, for a rumoured $278 million. This alone is interesting, but what is doubly interesting is the fact that P.A. Semi designed the dual-core 64-bit PowerPC CPU that some had thought Apple could have used for a new Mac laptop (although Apple had already announced the switch to Intel)."

source: http://everythingapple.blogspot.com/...ompany-pa.html

Samsung suppose to be in the process of completing another fab facility. With the world economy as it is, may be a slow down in fab facilities being started.
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post #15 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

If they did that, Jobs, Cook, and a few other would probably wind up sitting in a Federal prison.

No way. If they own it, they can do whtaever they want with it.
post #16 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

Screw NAND. I want a 500GB iPad!


Make mine 2TB, I know how storage needs grow over time.


4 years ago 160GB was enough, 3 years ago 320GB was enough, 2 years ago 500GB was enough

now I'm looking to get 1TB drive, so next year I'll need 2TB and the year after that 4TB...

And I don't even store a lot of video, pictures, music and other operating systems mostly.


And all Apple can provide is a measly 64GB iPad with slow ass USB2? You know there is premature product obsolescence built in right just looking at the storage.


The problem Apple is having is their suppliers are price fixing.



Dell is suing 5 LCD makers in Asia right now because of price fixing.

http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/...-price-fixing/




Apple also can't gain the advantages of economies of scale because the PC side isn't receptive to SSD because it would price their products out of reach. So they stick with the cheaper hard drives.

Apple is being the sucker and taking us consumers for a ride trying to increase demand of SSD for the rest of the industry.

SanDisk has SDXC capability of up to 2TB already and has just started selling 64GB SD cards for $350 each. Hopefully competition and increased demand will bring the price down.

http://www.sandisk.com/products/dslr...tra-sdxc-cards


When hard drives reach their storage limit, hopefully that will provoke increased PC demand for SSD and lower prices.
post #17 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by FineTunes View Post

PA Semi designed chips, manufacturing was farmed out.

I didn't imply otherwise. I was providing more of a reason Apple might buy a fab.

Dual-purpose.

-Clive
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post #18 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woohoo! View Post

SanDisk has SDXC capability of up to 2TB already and has just started selling 64GB SD cards for $350 each. Hopefully competition and increased demand will bring the price down.

http://www.sandisk.com/products/dslr...tra-sdxc-cards

Keep in mind that no one has a 2TB capability in any portable form, probably not even in a 2.5" style SSD. 2TB in one little postage stamp is probably five or so years away. 2TB is only the upper limit of the SDXC standard, the same way that SDHC's upper limit was 32GB but it took several years to get to it.
post #19 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by iLuv View Post

No way. If they own it, they can do whtaever they want with it.

They would own the chips not the companies. If nothing else they would be faced with a big lawsuit for breach of contract. The feds would go after them for price fixing or trying to manipulate the market.
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post #20 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

I didn't imply otherwise. I was providing more of a reason Apple might buy a fab.

Dual-purpose.

-Clive

Re-read the post and it appears that you are right.

I do not know if it would be wise for Apple to go that route--a lot of strong manufacturers who could make it very competitive. As with RAM, NAND prices can become very volatile when the rest of the fabs under construction come on-line. Apple should concentrate what they do best--other than the PA Semiconductor purchase, they should not get into manufacturing chips. With PAS then can design their own chips and then license the production of the chips to Samsung or Toshiba or the like--but watch those patents.
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post #21 of 41
Apple have been stuck in sub 64gb land for years for their portable devices and there is still nothing in sight that I am aware of that will get them out of this rut, anytime soon. The prices have hardly dropped either.

I want an ipod Touch with 128 gb+. I don't care if it is thick, or heavy due to a large battery.

Nand is a promise that doesn't look like being fulfilled.
post #22 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

Apple have been stuck in sub 64gb land for years for their portable devices and there is still nothing in sight that I am aware of that will get them out of this rut, anytime soon. The prices have hardly dropped either.

I want an ipod Touch with 128 gb+. I don't care if it is thick, or heavy due to a large battery.

Nand is a promise that doesn't look like being fulfilled.

Around January, Toshiba announced the release of a 64GB NAND chip (what's in the iPhone and iPod Touch) which, if adopted would make the iPhone 64GB and the Touch 128GB. Can't wait for the 128GB Touch--September?? That's the usual time iPods are upgraded. The iPhone is usually 1/2 the capacity of the Touch because the Touch uses 2 NAND and the iPhone has only room for one because the electronics for the phone takes up the extra space.
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post #23 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by FineTunes View Post

Re-read the post and it appears that you are right.

I do not know if it would be wise for Apple to go that route--a lot of strong manufacturers who could make it very competitive. As with RAM, NAND prices can become very volatile when the rest of the fabs under construction come on-line. Apple should concentrate what they do best--other than the PA Semiconductor purchase, they should not get into manufacturing chips. With PAS then can design their own chips and then license the production of the chips to Samsung or Toshiba or the like--but watch those patents.

Yeah, it's definitely not an easy endeavor to just go ahead and start making your own chips... flash, CPU, or otherwise.

...but then again neither is designing your own chips and they bought a company to help with that.

Regardless, it still seems unlikely - just an interesting hypothetical.

-Clive
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post #24 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

Yeah, it's definitely not an easy endeavor to just go ahead and start making your own chips... flash, CPU, or otherwise.

...but then again neither is designing your own chips and they bought a company to help with that.

Regardless, it still seems unlikely - just an interesting hypothetical.

-Clive

Agreed-thanks
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post #25 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woohoo! View Post

SanDisk has SDXC capability of up to 2TB already and has just started selling 64GB SD cards for $350 each. Hopefully competition and increased demand will bring the price down.

http://www.sandisk.com/products/dslr...tra-sdxc-cards

When hard drives reach their storage limit, hopefully that will provoke increased PC demand for SSD and lower prices.

At $350/64GB, that's $5.50/GB. You can get a 1.5TB hard drive at Newegg for $100, which is $0.67/GB (83 times less expensive). The cheapest flash drives are about half as expensive per GB, but this still makes flash over 40 times as expensive as disk. This is only slightly better than the longer-term historical trend, where flash has cost about 50 times as much as hard disk, per GB. Since hard disks are no where near their storage limit, I don't see flash taking over for cheap high capacity storage anytime soon.
post #26 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by NormM View Post

Since hard disks are no where near their storage limit, I don't see flash taking over for cheap high capacity storage anytime soon.

Hard drives are yesterday's technology. Apple should eliminate them altogether.

Sure, some people might whine, but the user experience would be so much better.
post #27 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by iLuv View Post

Hard drives are yesterday's technology. Apple should eliminate them altogether.

Sure, some people might whine, but the user experience would be so much better.

And what you use for storage? Not some cloud somewhere? SSD's are great, but too little storage and too high a price. Have one in my MBP is great but cost was a premium--but then would not have had any other way.
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post #28 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by iLuv View Post

Hard drives are yesterday's technology. Apple should eliminate them altogether.

Sure, some people might whine, but the user experience would be so much better.

All in due time. Have you switched all your own machines already?

Sure, it's nicer, but as you say, it's not a panacea. For one, the wallet experience is quite something else. I know it's an extreme example, but a 500GB notebook 7200RPM platter drive is $100. An SSD version is $1400.

As it is, I just haven't been able to justify it. Less heat is not that big of a selling point, because the CPU is by far the biggest heat generator, at least in my MBP, the place where the hard drive resides is only slightly warm. The same goes for noise, the CPU fan is more audible than my hard drive, and the fan isn't making much noise at that. There was a time when I paid a lot to get the fastest thing, but not so much when it costs several times as much. Hard drive speed is only a factor for me on boot and application launch. So I picked the $100 500GB drive instead of a smaller $600 (or more) SSD drive. Even a 256GB drive would be getting a bit tight for me.
post #29 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

All in due time. Have you switched all your own machines already?

Sure, it's nicer, but as you say, it's not a panacea. For one, the wallet experience is quite something else. I know it's an extreme example, but a 500GB notebook 7200RPM platter drive is $100. An SSD version is $1500.

Where did you find a 2.5" 500GB SSD for $1500, then will it fit a MBP? Also 3rd party SSD's may be an issue with Apple if you are under warranty or if you have Apple Care.

Found this quote

"The amenities don't come cheap. The 500GB SSD model of the Portege R600 retails for $3,499, though you can get a low-end version with a basic 160GB hard disk drive for $2,099." http://www.computerworld.com.au/arti...rts_500gb_ssd/

Then there is
http://www.google.com/products/catal...wAg#ps-sellers

but it is a 3.5"

Haven't seen anything that is available for MBP greater than 256GB.
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post #30 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by FineTunes View Post

Where did you find a 2.5" 500GB SSD for $1500, then will it fit a MBP? Also 3rd party SSD's may be an issue with Apple if you are under warranty or if you have Apple Care.

Here is one that I found, I erred on the price, $1400, not $1500:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820139111

I double checked their specs just now, 2.5" SATA II, 9.5mm thickness, I think that makes it compatible with all MacBook Pros. It's MLC type NAND, so there may be some added risk over SLC.

It has a three year warranty, just not a walk-in one you can get with AppleCare.
post #31 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Here is one that I found, I erred on the price, $1400, not $1500:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820139111

I double checked their specs just now, 2.5" SATA II, 9.5mm thickness, I think that makes it compatible with all MacBook Pros. It's MLC type NAND, so there may be some added risk over SLC.

It has a three year warranty, just not a walk-in one you can get with AppleCare.

Thanks, now if Apple will allow it and not void the warranty. Also if anyone from Apple is reading this please support TRIM COMMANDS in the NeXT OS upgrade 10.6.4 or 10.6.3 if it's not too late--

I got my SSD directly from Apple when I ordered my MBP last year so not sure if its an MLC or SLC--hope that its an SLC.
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post #32 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by FineTunes View Post

Thanks, now if Apple will allow it and not void the warranty. Also if anyone from Apple is reading this please support TRIM COMMANDS in the NeXT OS upgrade 10.6.4 or 10.6.3 if it's not too late--

I got my SSD directly from Apple when I ordered my MBP last year so not sure if its an MLC or SLC--hope that its an SLC.

The manual on the current model seems to suggest that it's a user replaceable item, they explain how to do it in the user guide. If you're worried about warranty, you can have an Apple certified tech install it for you. They still won't cover the drive, but there shouldn't be any risk of them voiding the warranty on the rest of the computer.
post #33 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

As far as I understand, if you're worried about warranty, you can have an Apple certified tech install it for you. They won't cover the drive, but there shouldn't be any risk of them voiding the warranty on the rest of the computer.


Thanks
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post #34 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I think that would almost double the thickness and add weight for the drive and more batteries too

But it would be a photographers dream field unit <insert homer drool icon>

Ok, at least give me the ability to plug in an external USB hard drive via the USB connector, while having a compact flash adapter too.
post #35 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by FineTunes View Post

Thanks, now if Apple will allow it and not void the warranty.

Ugh - can we stop this? Adding a hard drive WILL NOT VOID YOUR WARRANTY - unless it has a fault that fries the motherboard...

You CAN upgrade your machine and it will not void the warranty. The burden is on Apple to prove your upgrade cause the problem. Heck, the last time I sent my MBP in for repair I forgot to swap the Apple memory back in for my upgraded memory as well as my upgraded hard drive and they didn't even say anything about it and I got my upgraded RAM and hard drive back.
post #36 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post

Ugh - can we stop this? Adding a hard drive WILL NOT VOID YOUR WARRANTY - unless it has a fault that fries the motherboard...

You CAN upgrade your machine and it will not void the warranty. The burden is on Apple to prove your upgrade cause the problem. Heck, the last time I sent my MBP in for repair I forgot to swap the Apple memory back in for my upgraded memory as well as my upgraded hard drive and they didn't even say anything about it and I got my upgraded RAM and hard drive back.

You're the one that brought this up again--this was two hours ago and was answered already. This was an issue with earlier SSD's when SSD's were not an option for the MBP--will try to find the source, right not late for an appointment.
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post #37 of 41
Samsung Fab wont be ready until Q3 at the earliest. With more then 30% of Market Share and many room to grow. Apple could Game the NAND market. I am no expert in this area. But i am certain it can be done.

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Those who dont understand Apple and those who misunderstood Apple.

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post #38 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I think that would almost double the thickness and add weight for the drive and more batteries too. Flash chips are a millimeter thick and can fit on the same circuit board as every other chip. Standard Notebook hard drives are about 10mm thick (I don't think 500GB drives are in 7.5 thickness yet), then you want an extra millimeter above and below for extra shock absorption margin.

Getting a realistic drive capacity is far more important than a couple of millimetres. For what Apple is promoting the iPad for, the listed capacities are ridiculously small and insanely over priced. If the same price points got you 160GB/320GB/500GB storage options, then they'd be talking about something that's almost as special as the hype.
post #39 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

Yeah, it's definitely not an easy endeavor to just go ahead and start making your own chips... flash, CPU, or otherwise.

...but then again neither is designing your own chips and they bought a company to help with that.

Regardless, it still seems unlikely - just an interesting hypothetical.

-Clive

I view it mostly as an additional threat to simply moving your business to another company (like from Samsung to more Toshiba flash or something). That's bad but the core demand is still there since everyone else still needs flash. You can sell to them. If Apple has it's own production capability and suddenly it's like 40% less demand for flash overall.

A very unlikely threat but something someone with $40B in the bank can hint at doing if they get sufficiently annoyed and Intel, Micron and others have done joint ventures before. Apple could also look at companies like Numonyx that was purchased by Micron for $1.3B.

It's a great way to lose money though so Samsung, etc would have to believe that Apple is very annoyed as opposed to mildly annoyed for it to be very believable. On the other hand if Jobs is simply seen in Boise Idaho the rumormill would be amusing to watch...
post #40 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsenka View Post

Getting a realistic drive capacity is far more important than a couple of millimetres. For what Apple is promoting the iPad for, the listed capacities are ridiculously small and insanely over priced. If the same price points got you 160GB/320GB/500GB storage options, then they'd be talking about something that's almost as special as the hype.

500GB with current drives would require doubling the thickness, not just adding a couple millimeters. 320GB is now possible with the 1.8" type drives, but it too is still a platter drive. Apple isn't promoting it as a video edit machine, I don't see how its promoted use means that 64GB is too small for its uses. I have several terabytes of stuff on my computer, but I don't see why a tablet has to have everything on it.
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