Apple to utilize high density NAND flash in ‘iPhone,’ next-gen iPods?

“Apple… entered into a $500M agreement with Intel and Micron last November helping to form IM Flash Technologies. By paying out $250M each to Intel and Micron, they’ve secured first-mover access at unparalleled pricing for NAND+ products. I call them NAND+ because IM Flash is already sampling the industry’s first 50nm scale technology for manufacturing flash, a process 10x smaller than that of facilities just coming online now,” Sean Alexander blogs for Addicted to Digital Media.

“This got me to thinking about why we still haven’t seen a new iPod released by Apple. Are they relinquishing their perceptual first-mover’s advantage? Not necessarily. My prediction is that they’re waiting until their investment in cheaper, smaller, NAND technology is ready. Smaller nm NAND flash offers higher capacities in a smaller space,” Alexander writes.

“So what is Apple going to do? I’m going to make my own prediction: Apple will first start to integrate their new memory investments into an upcoming iPhone, which will have a smaller unit-volume requirement than a next-gen iPod Nano. They’ll release a phone with 16-32GB of flash memory to cater to the high-end market. In Q1/Q2, once IM Flash is ramping up, the new Nano/Nano replacement will come out, and a price battle will kick into overdrive. The smaller sized chips + lower price to Apple gives them an edge on size of device, capacity, and without a major price differential.,” Alexander writes.

Full article here.

Related article:
Apple announces over 30 million iPods sold, reaches long-term supply agreements for flash memory – November 21, 2005

37 Comments

  1. I bet a “and one more thing” announcement will go out the week after Labor Day for an event one of the last two weeks of September. To be announced:
    – A nano with capacity up to 8 GB capacity
    – A true video iPod with the touch screen interface
    – Maybe the iPhone, but that could be 2007
    – iTunes 7 with integrated Movie Store

    Said event will take place no later than the 3 week of October. Apple may have two events.

  2. This is a brilliant move by Apple. Sean has pretty much nailed it.

    While SanDisk and M$ are chasing the traditional iPod market, Apple is going to change the game yet again, focusing consumers to this “make a new market” product.

    Marketing:
    “Is it an iPod? Is it a phone? Yes.”

    A product that absolutely incorporates 16/32GB of storage and iPod ease-of-use and ability – all at a price the consumer can jump onboard with ($299 and $399 respectively – the rest subsidized by the monthly service plan).

    The current nano will get a slight rev to 8GB with better screen and video abilities, but is a relatively minor rev just to boost short-term holiday sales and keep SanDisk and Zune at bay.

    The iPod video will also see a slight rev to 40 GB and 80 GB respectively – same price points.

    But make no mistake, the iPod/phone is going to change the game this fall, and have competition, this time cell companies and svc. providers looking at Cupertino with envy.

    Safari, mail, and Preview (enabling PDF viewing much like a Palm) – rather than dealing with Blackberry’s cumbersome web, email and PDF abilities or lack thereof… should be a welcome solution to the market.

    “Zune – oh great, another MP3 player/service for the same price as an iPod – big deal. I want the iPhone as it’s got it all, and with a great service price and only 1-year commitment!”

    Again, Apple giving away the content/service to sell hardware. The razor/blade model turned upside down.

    The iPhone (pick a name) will be the must have product this Christmas – just watch – you’ll want one too.

  3. How do you classify the “iPhone” as upcoming? Has Apple ever said they were working on it? Or is the pundit herd just doing a little advance planning? An iPhone might be interesting, but these guys talk as if it were in the back of the stores in boxes waiting to hit the counters. Has anyone from Apple confirmed this?

  4. Based on comments in some of the financial conference calls, you could say that they have not confirmed an iPhone when asked about it, but they have not denied it either. If one reads between the lines, they have said that it has been developed, and they will release it only when they feel the time is right in the marketplace. Sorry, I’m too lazy to look up actual quotes.

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