Launch of Apple's iCloud could weaken market demand for NAND flash

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Some industry players are concerned that Apple, the world's largest consumer of NAND flash memory, could cause demand for memory to dwindle with the introduction of its iCloud service.



Apple's free iCloud could potentially lessen the reliance on storage capacity on users devices, including iPhones, iPads, PCs and Macs, posing a threat to the NAND flash industry, IHS iSuppli has said.



As noted by DigiTimes, the firm predicts the Cupertino, Calif.-based company will account ?for nearly 30% of global (memory) demand" in 2011.



"Shipments of NAND flash memory for various Apple products are anticipated to reach 5.2 billion GB-equivalent units in 2011, out of a total global market of 18.5 billion GB-equivalent units,? analysts indicated.



IHS Suppli further added that Apple?s 28.3 percent share is the ?single largest block of NAND flash consumption by one company." Apple's dominance in the flash memory market appears set to continue for a few years and is expected to remain at 29 percent for the next two years. But, the company's portion of the market will gradually slide to around 25 percent in 2015, if IHS is to be believed.



IHS memory analyst Dee Nguyen said Apple's move to the cloud could have "significant implications" on the memory market. "With Apple products like the iPhone and iPad accounting for a disproportionate share of NAND flash demand, any move among Apple users to offload storage to the company's iCloud service could mean a corresponding decrease in demand for physical NAND flash memory in the future," the analyst said.



IHS estimates that iCloud could theoretically decrease storage needs by as much as 100GB per user, based on a rough calculation of "a rate of 4MB per song at Apple's stated cap of 25,000 songs." The resulting drop in demand could "make a serious dent" on NAND flash industry's profits, according to the firm.







However, the firm did cite several reasons why any near-term danger to the NAND flash industry is likely to be low. Firstly, given that few users have achieved true perpetual connectivity, offline storage will remain important for access.



Cost is also expected to limit the move to the cloud. iCloud only comes with 5GB of free storage, plus unlimited storage of music purchased directly from the iTunes Store.



The iTunes Match feature, which costs $24.99 a year, allows users to store their entire music collection, including songs ripped from CDs and downloaded outside of iTunes, in the cloud. According to IHS, certain users would shy away from the annual fee, instead preferring to invest in more storage for their devices.



Most importantly, with high-profile hacking scandals that have dogged the likes of Sony and others still fresh in the mind of consumers, the idea of having personal data stored in a centralized location outside of their control may turn some users away.



Apple first announced iCloud on June 6, 2011, alongside iOS 5 and Mac OS X Lion. The service is scheduled to launch this fall.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    iCloud is just another place to sync to, it's not a streaming service, so you still need the local storage.
  • Reply 2 of 49
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,525member
    On the other hand, flash-NAND using SSDs could strengthen market demand for NAND flash.
  • Reply 3 of 49
    robmelrobmel Posts: 6member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Some industry players are concerned that Apple, the world's largest consumer of NAND flash memory, could cause demand for memory to dwindle with the introduction of its iCloud service.



    Using a cloud for primary storage might work ok on a corporate intranet or from a fixed high-speed broadband link. But from an iPhone subject to the vagaries of the mobile network or a typically rubbish non-metropolitan Internet link you'd have to be mad to consider it. In any case, I like to keep my data where I can see it.



    I surely hope that Apple doesn't go for this in a gung-ho fashion. I'd hate to be forced back onto Windows.
  • Reply 4 of 49
    jbrunijbruni Posts: 29member
    Okay, so first everyone's complaining that Apple is a monopsony when buying flash RAM, and now they are complaining that iCloud will reduce demand for flash RAM. \
  • Reply 5 of 49
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    This article is not worth the paper it is printed on.
  • Reply 6 of 49
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,650member
    The analysts are wrong. People are still going to store stuff locally, even when the "cloud" comes along. It's not like Apple is giving everybody terrabytes of free storage space where they can do what they want. And even if somebody does upload something to the "cloud", they'll still keep the originals on their local drives.



    And, you can't just store whatever you want and upload it to iCloud. What about movies, videos, porn and stuff that really takes a lot of data? People will still have to store that kind of stuff locally.



    As new iPhones, iPads, iPod touches and stuff like Macbook Airs get released, then these will be using plenty of flash memory. And as flash memory gets cheaper, then Apple will be putting more memory in their hardware. There are already reports of the Macbook Airs coming with 128 gb of flash. So to sum it up, this is just some analyst speculating and making shit up. The only difference between the analyst and any random person posting here is that they get paid for making shit up.
  • Reply 7 of 49
    rcoleman1rcoleman1 Posts: 153member
    What fool would store all of his data in a cloud? Not me...this article ain't worth texting about.
  • Reply 8 of 49
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,277member
    I think what will happen when iCloud launches is that there will be a sudden 100-X-something boom in 3G traffic. It'll blow most people's data plans in no-time. People will notice this and be careful about using too much automatic iCloud syncing and stay old school with on board storage.
  • Reply 9 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    The analysts are wrong. People are still going to store stuff locally, even when the "cloud" comes along. It's not like Apple is giving everybody terrabytes of free storage space where they can do what they want. And even if somebody does upload something to the "cloud", they'll still keep the originals on their local drives.



    These were my thoughts as well.



    And this isn't even like Spotify or Amazon's locker service. You cannot stream your music. When the option to stream is not there, why would somebody buy a device with less storage space?



    iCloud is going to be great for making the iOS devices PC-independant, for providing additional storage and for maybe becoming what MobileMe was supposed to become. I cannot think of any scenario that would lead to less demand in SSD storage.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rcoleman1 View Post


    What fool would store all of his data in a cloud? Not me...this article ain't worth texting about.



    Well, at least it was worth commenting about!
  • Reply 10 of 49
    blah64blah64 Posts: 928member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Most importantly, with high-profile hacking scandals that have dogged the likes of Sony and others still fresh in the mind of consumers, the idea of having personal data stored in a centralized location outside of their control may turn some users away.



    Thanks to whoever wrote this for mentioning this point. Too many kiddies forget about "minor" issues like this.



    I'll trust my personal data to the cloud when... well, never. Multi-terabyte drives are cheap now, and getting cheaper.
  • Reply 11 of 49
    Excuse me whilst I brush this off as pointless rubbish. I doubt all NAND-Flash in the world will struggle because Apple decided to rebrand MobileMe (come on, we all know thats what it is). Its a sync service, local storage is still required. NAND wont suffer - especially if SSDs drop any further in price.
  • Reply 12 of 49
    hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 753member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    The analysts are wrong.



    I believe they prefer to be called analrapists.



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pz8aYiH_nRg
  • Reply 13 of 49
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,215member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    On the other hand, flash-NAND using SSDs could strengthen market demand for NAND flash.



    I agree 100%. I see Apple using more not less NAND in the coming years.
  • Reply 14 of 49
    esummersesummers Posts: 907member
    This doesn't make any sense. If anything iCloud will mean more flash on the client side and more spinning disks on the server side. This is especially true because iCloud syncs to flash memory. Some of these analysts are either blatantly trying to manipulate the market with false information or are totally incompetent. They at least say that there are no near term implications. Did they really need to suggest that Apple might someday completely rewrite iCloud so that it doesn't require local storage? Seems pretty far fetched.
  • Reply 15 of 49
    esummersesummers Posts: 907member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by palegolas View Post


    I think what will happen when iCloud launches is that there will be a sudden 100-X-something boom in 3G traffic. It'll blow most people's data plans in no-time. People will notice this and be careful about using too much automatic iCloud syncing and stay old school with on board storage.



    Except that iCloud only syncs automatically over Wifi. iCloud also isn't a replacement for flash storage or storing your data locally. It is syncing. You are storing your own data to all of your devices instead of just one. So you are sticking with "old school" local storage.
  • Reply 16 of 49
    Use of local storage is increasing substantially, especially as the technology improves and decreases in price. A global financial collapse would changes things, but otherwise, no way.



    However, the future is likely to be just the opposite due to pricing changes for data transmission. Now, our internet access is priced by bandwidth, unlike for cellular networks, which is priced by usage. When internet connectivity begins to be priced by usage, cloud access will no longer look so viable.
  • Reply 17 of 49
    cloudgazercloudgazer Posts: 2,161member
    Maybe in 5 years, if they've introduced streaming and added video content to the cloud by then - and rolled the full service out to all major markets. But a big maybe.
  • Reply 18 of 49
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,854member
    iCloud does not remove the need for local storage, it merely acts as a depository and dispatcher of small bits of user data which does not include video, the biggest storage hog.



    Also, Apple seems to be moving their consumer grade laptops to solid state storage, which could offset or even increase NAND memory consumption.
  • Reply 19 of 49
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    On the other hand, flash-NAND using SSDs could strengthen market demand for NAND flash.



    I concur. I don't see NAND demand doing anything but increasing.
  • Reply 20 of 49
    cajuncajun Posts: 95member
    Actually, I was pretty surprised that Jobs didn't announce streaming your own music collection. I thought for sure he was going to cap NAND memory at its current levels (or drop them slightly) and announce that iCloud streaming was the new way to listen to your music collection.



    That may yet be in the cards; it may just be a licensing issue with th RIAA.
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