Samsung jockeying to supply NAND for next-gen iPhone as Apple looks to boost storage, report says

Posted:
in iPhone edited June 2015
Samsung is reportedly looking to regain its role as a major NAND flash supplier to Apple's iPhone lineup, a lucrative deal that could bear fruit with year's expected hardware refresh.




Sources familiar with Samsung's operations told The Korea Times on Monday that the company is in negotiations to supply NAND flash memory for Apple's next iPhone, and is already performing quality control component testing at its factory in Xian, China.

According to another source, the move is meant to capitalize on Apple's supposed plans to boost mid-tier iPhone storage capacities. Quizzically, the person cites cloud services -- a feature usually attributed with freeing up onboard memory requirements -- as "data-intensive" and the reason for the impending change. Samsung is reportedly hawking 64GB chips for what is currently Apple's mid-tier iPhone offering.

Running counter to the report, however, are comments from Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller, who recently defended relatively low-capacity 16GB iPhones.

"The belief is more and more as we use iCloud services for documents and our photos and videos and music that perhaps the most price-conscious customers are able to live in an environment where they don't need gobs of local storage because these services are lightening the load," Schiller said during an unofficial WWDC panel with Daring Fireball's John Gruber earlier this month.

The 16GB iPhone was a top-tier option in 2008, but later became an affordable entry-level alternative thanks to flash component commoditization. Storage allotments for top end iPhones grows at a fairly consistent rate, though base models have been stuck with 16GB since 2011's iPhone 4.

As one of Apple's main component suppliers, Samsung has long played a prominent role in iPhone production since the device first launched in 2007. The Korean tech conglomerate initially supplied NAND modules alongside Intel, Hynix, Micron and Toshiba, but more recently saw its position erode through supply chain diversification.

Signs of Samsung's phase out came in September 2012, when Apple chose not to incorporate the company's NAND chips in the first batch of iPhone 5 shipments. With current generation iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models, Samsung was pushed out completely, leaving the job to Toshiba, SK Hynix and SanDisk.

Rumors earlier this year claimed Samsung had eased its way back into Apple's good graces and could supply DRAM for the so-called "A9" system-on-chip design, which it will manufacture at advanced fabrication facilities.

Apple is widely expected to introduce two iPhone models this fall, dubbed "iPhone 6s" and iPhone 6s Plus," with an A9 SoC, potentially 2GB of RAM, Force Touch screen technology and other enhancements. A recent report claimed manufacturers started initial production of the handsets last week.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,647member
    NAND storage in phones aren't SSDs. I haven't heard of an SSD interface being used. If someone has evidence I'm wrong, I'd like to know.
  • Reply 2 of 15
    yuck9yuck9 Posts: 68member

    Find it funny that Apple goes to them for there NAND. 

    Apple would be up a creek if Samsung told them to find another mfg.

  • Reply 3 of 15
    adrayvenadrayven Posts: 460member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Yuck9 View Post

     

    Find it funny that Apple goes to them for there NAND. 

    Apple would be up a creek if Samsung told them to find another mfg.




    Hardly. Samsung provides zero, zilch, nada, NAND to Apple right now.. they just leverage Samsung as a potential threat to the other three NAND suppliers to get better deals.. 

     

    It's business, plain and simple.

  • Reply 4 of 15
    yuck9 wrote: »
    Find it funny that Apple goes to them for there NAND. 
    Apple would be up a creek if Samsung told them to find another mfg.

    That's part of Apple's determination to diversify its sources... They were too dependent on Samsung, who is not Apple's friend. At the same time neither Apple or Samsung are likely to strip all ties just to spite the other.
  • Reply 5 of 15
    konqerrorkonqerror Posts: 685member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post



    NAND storage in phones aren't SSDs. I haven't heard of an SSD interface being used. If someone has evidence I'm wrong, I'd like to know.

     

    You have to define what an SSD is. Any flash storage requires NAND flash, and a controller. Android phones usually use eMMC. The controller is in the flash package and looks to the CPU as a SD card. Apple buys raw NAND and has their own controller built into the SoC. Apple does some of the tasks the controller usually does in software on the CPU.

  • Reply 6 of 15
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by konqerror View Post

     

     

    Apple does some of the tasks the controller usually does in software on the CPU.




    Like encryption. :D

  • Reply 7 of 15
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,785member
    konqerror wrote: »
    You have to define what an SSD is.
    The way I look at it, if the storage device (be it flash or something else) is formatted to support a storage system in the same way a magnetic disk is, then it is a Solid State Disk. As far as a hardware and software combo to realize that SSD , there are many ways to skin a cat here.

    Any flash storage requires NAND flash, and a controller. Android phones usually use eMMC. The controller is in the flash package and looks to the CPU as a SD card. Apple buys raw NAND and has their own controller built into the SoC. Apple does some of the tasks the controller usually does in software on the CPU.

    This gives Apple some advantages, the controller is closely coupled to the SoC thus they can drive performance as they please. It also gives them comeplete control over reliability, bus width and other physical parameters. This is why we continue to see respectable performance increases in secondary store.

    As for RAM mentioned in the article, Apple better go to 2GB. The lack of ram seriously impacts Safari and other apps that capable people try to use. Of course ad blocking would help a great deal and hopefully that makes it through to iOS 9.
  • Reply 8 of 15
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,460member

    Okay, so this is a bit of a stretch... In view of cloud services, more local storage could still be useful. For instance, complete, pre-recorded programs in encrypted form could be silently pushed out by broadcasters overnight or at any other time when consumers have broadband Internet access. Then when the programs are actually scheduled to be aired, broadcasters would only need to push the decryption key and consumers could affordably watch the program even if only cellular service is available.

  • Reply 9 of 15
    theothergeofftheothergeoff Posts: 2,081member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post



    As for RAM mentioned in the article, Apple better go to 2GB. The lack of ram seriously impacts Safari and other apps that capable people try to use. Of course ad blocking would help a great deal and hopefully that makes it through to iOS 9.

    "seriously"

    "Capable People"

     

    Do you have definitions and stats (I hear: 'seriously' (read: crashes the app or worse, the phone), that capable (ability to download apps) people download),  or is this just an observation between you and your friends/tech-capability-glutton top 1%, and the other 99% of the people notice nothing?

  • Reply 10 of 15
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,647member
    konqerror wrote: »
    You have to define what an SSD is. Any flash storage requires NAND flash, and a controller. Android phones usually use eMMC. The controller is in the flash package and looks to the CPU as a SD card. Apple buys raw NAND and has their own controller built into the SoC. Apple does some of the tasks the controller usually does in software on the CPU.

    Without a drive controller on board, it's not an SSD. It's properly referred to as NAND storage.
  • Reply 11 of 15

    This DRAM story has proven the February story was a false rumor as I had expected. Here is my comment about the February story... 

     

    Barron's is reporting this morning, "TSMC Will Have The Lion's Share of Apple's A9 Pie: Citi". It appears that Samsung's 14nm fabrication process is not ready for prime time after all. TSMC's 16nm fabrication process is ready as TSMC had reported. But Wall Street chose to ignore TSMC in favor of Samsung until denial could not be held on to.

     

    It is amazing how easy it has become to know when Samsung's "wins" are targeted lies spread around to make the company look better. The timing of the lies tend be 2-3 weeks before and after Samsung makes official earnings reports. When the A9  based on 14nm win was announced, I had so much doubt due to the 14nm having yield issues that were never clearly stated to have been resolved.

     

    Now this DRAM rumor is spreading just in time to cover up the A9 lies. 

     

    From AI...

    With current generation iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models, Samsung was pushed out completely, leaving the job to Toshiba, SK Hynix and SanDisk.

     

    Samsung was pushing completely out because it charged more for NAND than the other suppliers. Now Samsung is dropping its price so that Apple will consider using Samsung NAND.

     

    To Yuck 9, Samsung needs Apple to continue using its hardware these days much more than Apple needs to use Samsung hardware as in the past. Tim Cook and Co. have learned to wisely invest money in Samsung's competitors in a major effort to remove Samsung from exclusivity in the Apple supply chain.

     

    With the wise investments paying off, I am looking forward to the day when an iPhone is released that has nothing in it from directly from Samsung to Apple. I grudgingly admit Apple cannot be 100% Samsung free due to FRAND related/required licensing.

     

    I have to wait just about two and half months to discover if TSMC is the real winner of the A9.

     

    The A10 rumors should start around October. <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

  • Reply 12 of 15
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    3D V-NAND SSD has been available since end 2014 (Samsung) but will be also from Intel/Micron (Lexar, also used by Crucial) by end 2015 and by Toshiba/SanDisk by first half 2016. So, expect great sizes, speeds and prices by June to December 2016 and later.
  • Reply 13 of 15
    pfisherpfisher Posts: 758member

    No surprises. Samsung isn't really a company, per se. It's a conglomerate (chae-bol). I wouldn't be surprised if they made toilet paper and cat food. Half joking.

  • Reply 14 of 15
    marvfoxmarvfox Posts: 2,275member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pfisher View Post

     

    No surprises. Samsung isn't really a company, per se. It's a conglomerate (chae-bol). I wouldn't be surprised if they made toilet paper and cat food. Half joking.




    You my friend are a joke by saying this dumb remark.

  • Reply 15 of 15
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,215member
    pfisher wrote: »
    No surprises. Samsung isn't really a company, per se. It's a conglomerate (chae-bol). I wouldn't be surprised if they made toilet paper and cat food. Half joking.

    Especially when you think how really bad the owners of some toilet paper making companies really are. ;)
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