iPod Popularity Creates NAND Memory Shortfall

Used with a CC-license. Thanks to Donna & Andrew on Flickr.

Used with a CC-license. Thanks to Donna & Andrew on Flickr.

It seems everywhere you look – on the street, on television and online – another iPod or iPhone is being produced or sold. Supply of flash memory has hit a 1.3 percent shortfall and is expected to drop to 3.3 percent below demand during the important Christmas period. Once again the blame is being laid at Apple’s doorstep.

“NAND flash supply has reportedly become tighter as major chip producers Samsung Electronics, Toshiba, Micron and Hynix Semiconductor favor demand for Apple devices,” DigiTimes writes on a report from DRAMeXchange.

This isn’t the first time Apple has been blamed for a shortage in NAND memory. In September a “serious shortage” of flash memory was reported, causing makers to curtail production to everyone but Apple. At the same time, Apple unveiled new flash-based iPods, including a 64GB iPod touch and an updated iPod nano with video ability.

Become accustom to these shortages, according to the report. Although demand for flash memory is expected to grow 81 percent in 2010 because of increased smartphone purchases, supply will only grow by 79 percent.

With shortages comes higher memory prices. The contract price for 16GB flash chips rose 7-8 percent in the first half of October while 32GB chips increased by 8-14%. As more and more iPods and iPhones make use of 64GB NAND chips, the price of that memory increased 6-13 percent.

As a result of the shortages, memory module makers are looking to other sources beyond Samsung. IM Flash, a joint venture between Micron and Intel could benefit from the move, the report suggests.

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About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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