Let’s not jump to any conclusions. Maybe they just want to redecorate the Cupertino campus, and they thought covering the walls in 8Gb (gigabit, not byte) flash chips would be original and visually appealing.

Actually, that’s probably the last possible reason Apple recently placed a massive order for 100 million 8Gb chips from their suppliers, most of which will come from Samsung, according to DigiTimes, the source of the report. Yes, that is a lot of chips, and apparently the whole industry will feel the strain as the NAND flash supply will be pretty tight up until the end of May, thanks to fairly large orders by Sony and Nokia, in addition to Apple.

In case you didn’t guess, Apple is most likely going to be using the new chips for the new iPhone that’s been all but confirmed as due this June in time for WWDC ‘09. The tiny chips can be combined by Apple into larger configurations of 16GB and 32GB sizes, which is what most are expecting from the new iPhone models. For those still skeptical about the new iPhone’s imminent launch, the same thing happened last year around this time before the release of the iPhone 3G, except that time the order was only half the size. Which doesn’t mean Apple is planning on producing double the launch units, but that those units will almost definitely have double the storage capacity.

No one on the frugal side of the family is considering an iPhone until they get down to that $99 price point. Still – though smartphones are the strongest portion of the cellular market right now – that’s a lot of confidence on Apple’s part.

  1. GregA says:

    Actually with a little rudimentary math, and looking at their prior sales numbers… They will probably stick with the 8Gig and 16Gig phones, or they are expecting to sell a whole lot less iPods, and iPhones than they are now, and I just don’t see that happening…

    On a side note… 7 months in and the iPhone OS seems to be suffering bit rot like windows xp did? Does anyone know off hand how to reinstall OSX on the iPhone?

  2. bill says:

    Only 100 million? So if 75% of existing iPhone are replaced with something newer/better how many is that? (16GB). And if the newer one is ‘insanely great’? 100 million is ‘only’ 50 million iPhones…
    Probably 3 months worth.

    I for one, cant wait.

  3. jobs says:

    Rumors are new aluminum unibody iphone/ipod touch along with the new OS version in june. That just happens to be when the AT&T/iphone contracts are up for renewal.

    #1 Not a iphone owner, but don’t you just do a restore.

  4. JoaoPT says:

    How many iPhones were sold till this day? Anyone.
    Cause the iPhone 1.0 was supposed to sell 10 million, but never got there, and they only got there with the G3. So. What’s the math?

  5. JoaoPT says:

    #2 weeeell…
    These are 8 Gb(it) chips, so one chip is good for 8GB(ytes). If you want to put 16 Gig on iPhones, 100 Million chips will do good for about 6 Million phones…

  6. JoaoPT says:

    typo: 8 Gbits good for 1 GBytes.

  7. Mod Chips says:

    Have I got this right ?
    100 millions
    Sounds almost like the numbers in the financial bailouts – numbers too big to comprehend
    How can you even deliver all of those chips – with tons of trucks I guess
    Hope no one hijacks the shipment – guess they could be bundled with cameras
    Imagine if these chips could be used in mods

  8. Steve S says:

    Something is wrong here. If these were really 8Gb (giga-bit) chips it would take 8 of them to make an 8GB (giga-byte) iPhone and a whopping 16 to make a 16GB iPhone. The current 8GB iPod Touch uses one 64Gb (giga-bit) Micron 29F64G08TAA Flash chip. These must be at least 64Gb Flash chips. For reference, Samsung and Micron are both currently shipping 128Gb (16GB) Flash chips.

  9. Dallas says:

    There certainly seems to be an insatiable desire for solid state memory. It’s puzzling how the costs keep tumbling.

    I thought surely that capacity had been curtailed by now, after a terrible 2007 and 2008 for NAND pricing.

  10. Sister Mary Hand Grenade of Quiet Reflection says:

    Folks, storage is in bytes – only network speeds are referenced in bits. Jesus H. Christ, we learn shit like this at the convent.

  11. sargasso says:

    #8. Thanks. I now wonder if it is deliberate mis-information or a typo.

  12. eaze says:

    ipods are cool but i would never choose an iphone over a nokia. ever.

  13. boru says:

    Wouldn’t it be astounding if the third generation iPhone incorporated a form of Grand Central in the upcoming Snow Leopard operating system to maximize the distribution of tasks among chips, rather than processors?

    Has PA Semi performed magic?

  14. lmj3325 says:

    It’s not the $299 price tag of the phone that is keeping me from buying one…it is the ridiculous monthly access charge. The last time I looked it was a minimum of $75 per month for the voice and data plan with minimal text messages.

    No thanks.

  15. bill says:

    AT&T is certainly bloodthirsty… but they are the only game in town for the iPhone… right?
    Hopefully they will spend part of that $75.00 on their network.
    They seem to be pretty good but it’s not like the old AT&T…
    Maybe that’s a good thing.

    What has Bell Labs done lately? Is there even a Bell Labs?

  16. Mike in Newark says:

    Sister Mary,

    I am not sure which convent you go to, but you certainly do not design with memory chips there. Memory chips are mostly sold for the number of “bits” they hold (not Bytes – its a marketing thing), it is also how they are usually addressed. This is why you often see 8 of these chips on a memory board (like a DIMM). The 8 chips is what makes up a “Byte”. The other hint here is that the specification uses a little “b” which for us engineers means “bit”. Capital “B” means “Byte”. Technically they should be using “Gi” since the magnitudes are binary based (“1024” or 2^10) and not tens based (“1000” or 10^3).

    I doubt that Apple is planning on using these chips for the iPhone unless they are planning on a much larger iPhone or one with only a couple of hundred MB’s of memory (a not so smart phone?) since the room for eight chips would take up a huge percentage of room on a device like that. Also it would not be cost effective to use these chips in an application that would require more than eight of them when one takes into account the additional manufacturing and reliability costs of having to handle the extra chips.

    No I think Apple is planning to use them for something else. Could be an iPhone like device, but not like the ones we are used to seeing or it will be so severely derated, it’s attractiveness may only be based on price.

    Of course if it does not have some of the features of an iPhone, can Apple use that as an out from it’s exclusive partnership with ATT and sell these new “widgets” through other carriers (and hence the larger volume)?

  17. Greg Allen says:

    I totally agree about the $99. I just HATE having to worry about portable electronics.

    Anything higher than about $100 and I then worry about it. Forget that.

    $39 is best.

  18. lens42 says:

    Completely disagree on the need for $99 phone. It’s the monthly service charges that kill you. It’s the gift that keeps on taking.

  19. Norman Speight says:

    lmj3325, and lens42 are dead right.
    These providers are just after bleeding users for month after month after year. Aided and abetted by Apple of course. I can’t understand why direct selling, then pick your own provider has never been competitively pushed. Why on earth phone manufacturers of all kinds want to hand a market opportunity to providers is beyond me. And. I simply do not swallow all that guff about ‘high costs of manufacting being subsidised by providers’. Nearly ALL the technology in phones is not really that new – or that expensive, granted, it is added to with every new model, but, not really innovative, or expensively researched product change. 99% of it is just fancier design such as cases, or icons, or buttons, or sliders – see anything new there? No, neither do I. if it’s SO expensive how come so many new models every few weeks, or months?
    When the mugs stop encouraging monthly payments we may see some REAL benefits.
    Also. Why the hell is push email taking so long to be universal? It’s not THAT expensive to implement anyway (if it is, why so many FREE email providers I ask).

  20. Winston says:

    If I could get a 50% markup over the cost of manufacturing, I’d buy a lot of chips, too.

  21. zorkor says:

    Nokia is a much better company compared to iPhone. You can buy any Nokia smartphone nd it comes with 8 to 16GB memory cards for free unlike iPhones builtin storage and battery.

    Tried iPhone, didnt like it, used Nokia before and still using it, its the best. Especially Nokia E71 which won the best Mobile phone of the year award 2 times. w00t!

  22. Winston says:

    Oops, the article on Apple hardware markups that I read is incorrect. Their markup is 100%.

  23. Sister Mary Hand Grenade of Quiet Reflection says:

    #16 – Send me a link to any Gb (bit) memory you can find. Memory is always referenced in bytes. If you are wrong, I’ll expect a donation to the church. If I am wrong, well, I’ll just go fuck myself.

  24. gquaglia says:

    Completely disagree on the need for $99 phone. It’s the monthly service charges that kill you. It’s the gift that keeps on taking.

    The iphone data plan is no more expensive then AT&Ts regular data plan.


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