Analyst: iPhone Refresh Pressuring Flash Memory Plants

(Photo: Brandon Shigeta/Flickr)

(Photo: Brandon Shigeta/Flickr)

Apple’s planned refresh of iPhones is putting increased pressure on flash memory manufacturers managing dwindling inventory, according to one analyst Tuesday.

“Our checks indicate that Apple has started ordering for its iPhone refresh (iPhone and iPhone Nano), stifling the supply chain,” ThinkEquity analyst Vijay Rakesh told clients in a note.

In the case of memory maker Samsung, Apple has allocated its inventory until April, according to Rakesh.

The note indicates three out of Apple’s four memory suppliers are constrained. Along with Samsung’s lower inventory, Hynix and Toshiba are groaning under the pressure of meeting Apple’s memory supply demands.

Hynix saw its fourth quarter NAND growth drop by 37 percent while also dropping further behind SanDisk and Samsung in the technology race. Meanwhile, Toshiba is having supply problems when it comes to 56nm flash NAND, the analyst said.

Micron, the fourth Apple memory supplier, was not mentioned by Rakesh as experiencing similar supply questions.

Along with Apple, the day of low memory prices may be nearing an end for consumers.

“We expect NAND spot and contract pricing to continue to trend up,” the analyst told clients.

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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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