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Apple shops for third flash memory supplier

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Following a failed joint venture with Samsung and amidst a major ramp in iPod production, Apple Computer is reportedly shopping around for a third supplier of the NAND flash memory used in its popular iPod nano and iPod shuffle music players.

According to a report released by research firm InSpectrum, the iPod maker is likely to tap South Korea-based Hynix Semiconductor, which it recently asked to submit price quotes for low-density NAND flash memory.

Although Samsung and Toshiba are Apples primary flash memory suppliers, DigiTimes claims that Apple will shift to Hynix for its low-density 1GB and 512MB (used in the iPod shuffle) while Toshiba strives to fulfill strong demand from SanDisk -- the worlds largest supplier of flash memory data storage card products.

With increased output of flash memory leading into November, and partly due to a planned ramp at Hynix, contract prices for low-density flash have started to decline, the firm added.

InSpectrum forecasts that supply and demand should return to equilibrium in December, with present demand for memory cards, MP3 players and USB drives "remaining vibrant."

Last month, Apple reportedly voided a $3.8 billion joint investment plan with Samsung after the Korean-based company and its U.S. subsidiary pleaded guilty to price fixing charges.
post #2 of 14
Cheaper iPod shuffle's?
post #3 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by Robin Hood
Cheaper iPod shuffle's?

If this is accurate, the shuffle will stay 512MB and 1GB for a while.
Living life in glorious 4G HD (with a 2GB data cap).
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Living life in glorious 4G HD (with a 2GB data cap).
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post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by CosmoNut
If this is accurate, the shuffle will stay 512MB and 1GB for a while.

They're a year old in Jan - Steve will be telling us how successful it has been and will then "replace" it (ie update it!)
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by MacCrazy
They're a year old in Jan - Steve will be telling us how successful it has been and will then "replace" it (ie update it!)

Question is how?

Display? Possibly. Apple may have come up with some approach that works better than anyone else at this size/price/capacity point.

Form factor? Definitely possible. I vote for a small disk-shaped device that has the click wheel on the front.

Colors? Possible.

Capacity? Not likely.

Pricing? Possible.

Pricing/bundling changes? Definitely possible.

That's all I can think of.
post #6 of 14
I say the shuffle will be replaced in jan with a newer model. 512mb/1gb is still reasonable, but the shuffle is quite large compared to most flash disks/memory sticks these days. Its even thicker than the nano!

They will most likely bring out a very small flashdisk nano, that could be put on your keyrings (where my sandisk 512mb micro stick is), and perhaps use the white/black 2 color choice, and the clear resin exterior. Of course this is now "scratch proof" :P
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by the_snitch
Of course this is now "scratch proof" :P

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by the_snitch
that could be put on your keyrings (where my sandisk 512mb micro stick is)

Makes sense for a memory stick, not so much for a music player.

Size reduction is also a good bet...Apple is really into shaving millimeters and ounces from everything these days...not to mention cost (at least to manufacture)...improving margins.
post #9 of 14
A hybridpod. But don't bank on it.
-Shawn
2.4GHz 24" Intel iMac
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-Shawn
2.4GHz 24" Intel iMac
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post #10 of 14
I would be extremely surprised if the shuffle got a screen, that's practically what the nano is. There is really no reason for it.
Alec
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Alec
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post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by eekles77
I would be extremely surprised if the shuffle got a screen, that's practically what the nano is. There is really no reason for it.

what is meant is a small screen that is only a few lines big - enough to show what song is playing and the time, probably like the old monochrome ipod screen but alot smaller.
post #12 of 14
Here's to hoping that Apple are also looking into serious solid-state storage for the PowerBooks and iBooks - I'd love to leave hard drives behind and have a sweet ultra-thin 100% silent notebook to replace my 2003 PB.

Yes, I know I'm talking about something quite different from iPod Shuffle style flash storage ... and for a system drive there are lifetime read/writes to worry about. But I can always hope!
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by eekles77
I would be extremely surprised if the shuffle got a screen, that's practically what the nano is. There is really no reason for it.

It could stand to have a monochrome screen.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by fuyutsuki
Here's to hoping that Apple are also looking into serious solid-state storage for the PowerBooks and iBooks - I'd love to leave hard drives behind and have a sweet ultra-thin 100% silent notebook to replace my 2003 PB.

Yes, I know I'm talking about something quite different from iPod Shuffle style flash storage ... and for a system drive there are lifetime read/writes to worry about. But I can always hope!

I think newer flash chips are a lot better on write cycles, and I don't think reads ever degraded memory cells.

Still, flash isn't yet cost effective for the capacity that most people demand for laptops. It's closest to comparing with Microdrives, even then, I think the cost per GB is 2:1 that of a Microdrive. Laptop drives are a different order of magnitude. At current retail prices that I've seen lately, $100 USD will buy 60GB drive or 2x 1GB flash modules.
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