Apple is the world’s No. 1 consumer of flash memory, passing HP on its way to spending $17.5 billion for iPads, iPhones and other mobile devices. With that number only set to rise, it is very possible that next year, Apple will spend more per year on flash memory than Nokia’s entire market cap.
The tech giant spent 80 percent more on flash memory in 2010, compared to 2009, when the company paid $9.7 billion, according to IHS iSuppli. The surge by Apple “was driven by the overwhelming success of its wireless products, namely the iPhone and the iPad, analyst Wenlie Ye said. The devices “consume enormous quantities of NAND flash memory, which is also found in the Apple iPod,” Ye adds.
Although Apple ranks in the top five manufacturers purchasing over-all microprocessors, the Cupertino, Calif.-based firm “semiconductors take the passenger seat when compared to NAND flash,” the expert said. That trend likely won’t change. Flash memory product saw a near five-fold increase so far this year as consumers purchase more tablets and other mobile devices. By 2014, 12.3 exaytes of flash memory will be produced, according to iSuppli.
Apple’s dominance in the mobile industry can be seen in is semiconductor spending habits. The company spent 61 percent of its money on chips for wireless devices, compared to HP spent 82 percent of its chip budget on desktops and notebooks.