An iPad 3 Could Be Bad News for Flash Memory Supply?



Could another flash memory crunch be on the horizon? The growing introduction of cloud-based services and talk of a high-capacity iPhone 5 later this year will catch NAND memory makers flat-footed if an iPad 3 is unveiled in the next six months. That’s the concern of one analyst who watches the memory sector.

Although memory manufacturing facilities were built with an eye toward greater use in cell phones, there was no “accounting for any potential detrimental impact from streaming services,” according to Matthew Bryson of Avian Securities. Both Apple and Google will join the push, with the Cupertino, Calif. company “leading the hardware/OS/cloud charge with a completely integrated product built around post-PC devices like the iPhone5 and iPad3,” he tells investors Wednesday.

According to Bryson’s supply chain contacts, Apple is submitting design specs for a new iPad, which the analyst suspects means an announcement in six months, if the company follows the timing of prior iPad launches. The next-generation tablet likely would be announced along with the expected iPhone 5.

“We feel the [second half] launch fits well with indications an iPhone5 launch could come later in the year. With two platforms sharing similar hardware in may respects, in our view it would make sense to see the platforms roll-out simultaneously with this timing likely enabling Apple to offer 4G enabled products,” Bryson reasons.

However, don’t expect what the analyst terms as a “pedestrian” update, such as adding the iPhone 4’s “Retina Display.” He forecasts the iPad 3 will include higher connectivity and support for cloud-based services, such as streaming music and video.

The question becomes how will flash memory manufacturers, like Micron (its shared rose 1.4 percent on the news) react to such a flood of demand and will Apple again be blamed for a memory crunch that actually prompted by an industry-wide move to the cloud?



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