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Apple supplier 'reveals' next-gen iPods due at usual time of year

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
A long-time supplier of components for Apple Inc.'s iPods has reportedly been cut out of next-generation designs due later this year, just as conflicting reports surface over the company's orders for 32GB NAND flash chips.

Shares of Edinburgh-based Wolfson Microelectronics bled as much as 30 percent of their value, slipping to a three year low early Thursday after the company said it had lost out on a contract to supply parts for digital media players from a major customer.

Wolfson, who said the new players were due to be launched in the third quarter of 2008, warned investors that second-half revenues would be hit as a result.

In speaking to Reuters a person familiar with the matter confirmed the products in question to be new versions of iPod nano and iPod touch, which have historically seen introductions in the Sept.-Oct. timeframe.

Wolfson has been the primary supplier of audio decoder chips for Apple's iPods and iPhones, dating back to at least as early as 2005.

Meanwhile, Far Eastern NAND flash memory suppliers are reportedly agreeing to disagree with one another over changes in Apple's NAND flash procurement, specifically high-density 32GB (and larger) modules that could prove critical to a 3G iPhone manufacturing ramp in the coming months.

While Hynix and Samsung have hinted that Apple is re-stocking its NAND inventory, downstream players in Taiwan doubt their claims, saying that Apple still houses a considerable supply of chips according to their estimates.

According to DigiTimes, the downstream players believe that Apple has indeed started to stock up on the high-density NAND flash chips. However, they say Hynix and Samsung are exaggerating the magnitude of the order increase in attempts to fuel price increases.

It was reported earlier this month that, despite procuring about $1.2 to 1.3 billion worth of NAND flash memory for its products in calendar year 2007, Apple has yet to place any substantial orders this year, leading to mainstream NAND flash prices that have fallen below cost.
post #2 of 15
That's too bad, Wolfson makes some very good sounding DAC chips. iPods have always had above average sound quality for an MP3 player, I hope they stay that way.

Sheldon
post #3 of 15
Yes, I'm surprised about Wolfson. I wonder why they left?

As for Flash, This is why people who think Flash pricing is dropping very fast should take notice. It seems as though that's true, but it isn't. Flash prices have taken a big hit, but they will rise again. This erratic pricing is normal in the memory world, and always will be. But, the longer term trend isn't for prices to drop so quickly, and those who continue to insist so will be shown to be wrong, as they were over the past 18 months, or so.

I also remember a time, a few years ago, when 512 MB DIMMS reached a new low of $49.50. This was when they were the largest DIMM generally available at reachable prices. People were predicting 1 GB DIMM pricing of $50 in the next 6 months. Instead, demand caught up with the closing of chip plants, and the price of the 512 MB DIMM instead rose to $115 in the next 6 months. It took over a year before the price dropped to below $50 again for the 512 size.

One can't rely on short term prices as an indicator of longer term pricing.
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Yes, I'm surprised about Wolfson. I wonder why they left?

As for Flash, This is why people who think Flash pricing is dropping very fast should take notice. It seems as though that's true, but it isn't. Flash prices have taken a big hit, but they will rise again. This erratic pricing is normal in the memory world, and always will be. But, the longer term trend isn't for prices to drop so quickly, and those who continue to insist so will be shown to be wrong, as they were over the past 18 months, or so.

I also remember a time, a few years ago, when 512 MB DIMMS reached a new low of $49.50. This was when they were the largest DIMM generally available at reachable prices. People were predicting 1 GB DIMM pricing of $50 in the next 6 months. Instead, demand caught up with the closing of chip plants, and the price of the 512 MB DIMM instead rose to $115 in the next 6 months. It took over a year before the price dropped to below $50 again for the 512 size.

One can't rely on short term prices as an indicator of longer term pricing.

Chip plant closings? Are, ``Chip Plants burning to the ground'' too harsh to state?

RAM DIMMS are now way beyond affordable and with systems requiring much more it's now considered a necessity to have at least 2 GB.

When NAND Flash Memory reaches that necessity then you will see them at throw away pricing.
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Chip plant closings? Are, ``Chip Plants burning to the ground'' too harsh to state?

RAM DIMMS are now way beyond affordable and with systems requiring much more it's now considered a necessity to have at least 2 GB.

When NAND Flash Memory reaches that necessity then you will see them at throw away pricing.

The chip plant that burned to the ground was too long ago to match up with his pricing - at that time 64mb (4x 16 mb dimms, I think) cost $2000.
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post #6 of 15
What company do you guys see out there, that can replace Wolfson.?
The world belongs to who wants it , now who deserves it.
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The world belongs to who wants it , now who deserves it.
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post #7 of 15
Just speculation, but there's Analog Devices, Crystal Semi, TI (Burr Brown) amongst others. I've been a big fan of the Burr Brown designs. I haven't tried any of the newer post-merger dacs from TI who bought burr brown. My DAC needs have been for high performance with no regard for power consumption or rail voltage, so I can't really speculate with any authority on mobile device mixed signal devices.

Sheldon
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghstmars View Post

What company do you guys see out there, that can replace Wolfson.?

They replaced Wolfson in the last revision to the iPod Classic. It now uses a DAC from Cirrus Logic.

I hope they don't go with the same one in the iPod Nano and Touch, because it's much worse than the Wolfson DAC it replaced.
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
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it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
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post #9 of 15
Fantasic! I was going to buy either a refurbished or new iPod but now I will def wait upon hearing this news. It's only 5 months away and the 32G sold it for me- was only anticipating new functions. The 16G should then drop $100.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Chip plant closings? Are, ``Chip Plants burning to the ground'' too harsh to state?

RAM DIMMS are now way beyond affordable and with systems requiring much more it's now considered a necessity to have at least 2 GB.

When NAND Flash Memory reaches that necessity then you will see them at throw away pricing.

I wasn't referring to that. just the fact that supply and demand get out of kilter. We see that right now. When Apple puts in its orders, and supplies tighten up again, Flash prices will either stabilize, or rise.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by stokessd View Post

Just speculation, but there's Analog Devices, Crystal Semi, TI (Burr Brown) amongst others. I've been a big fan of the Burr Brown designs. I haven't tried any of the newer post-merger dacs from TI who bought burr brown. My DAC needs have been for high performance with no regard for power consumption or rail voltage, so I can't really speculate with any authority on mobile device mixed signal devices.

Sheldon

There are a lot of companies, but the question is, how many of them make the more specialized chips Apple needs. Not all of those companies do.
post #12 of 15
burr brown would be great. I have heard quality of ipod aren't as good since they switched to WolfSon.

And it only got worst when they switch to Cirrus Logic.

There are only two kind of people in this world.

Those who dont understand Apple and those who misunderstood Apple.

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There are only two kind of people in this world.

Those who dont understand Apple and those who misunderstood Apple.

Reply
post #13 of 15
I assume the writer meant 32Gb (Bit) flash chips instead of 32GB (Byte)
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

burr brown would be great. I have heard quality of ipod aren't as good since they switched to WolfSon.

And it only got worst when they switch to Cirrus Logic.

Well, you heard wrong about Wolfson. The sound is excellent. I don't recall much about the Cirrus machines.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

I assume the writer meant 32Gb (Bit) flash chips instead of 32GB (Byte)

I hope so!
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