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Monday, August 06, 2007, 09:00 am PT (12:00 pm ET)

Next-gen video iPod to employ 16GB of NAND flash - report

Apple Inc. is gearing up to unveil a NAND flash-based video iPod in late September, which may aggravate the currently observed NAND flash shortages, according to DigiTimes.

Citing "sources at Taiwan-based component makers," the Far Eastern rumor publication claims the "new iPod video" will use NAND flash as the "major storage media," offering twice as much capacity as Apple's high-end iPhone handset.

"With the launch of the new iPod imminent, together with the recently reported power outage experienced by Samsung Electronics at its fabs, component makers are concerned that overall NAND flash supply may be impacted," the report states.

Apple's current line of video iPods employ bulky 1.8-inch hard disk drives (HDDs), but are the last of the firm's consumer electronics gadgets to do so. Since introducing the iPod nano in 2005, the company has slowly shifted all of its other handheld devices to the more reliable solid-state NAND flash memory.

Analysts have argued that it only makes sense for Apple to progress its video iPod players in the same fashion, as flash storage — which is more compact and lacks the movable parts of HDDs — would pave the way for smaller form factor players, as well as improvements to both battery life and durability.

"We believe that the video iPod transition from 1.8-inch hard disk drives to NAND flash memory may occur as soon as late 2007," Prudential Equity Group analyst Jesse Tortora wrote in a February report. "Our checks indicate that Apple is considering canceling its next generation HDD-based iPod design, with the form factor refresh involving a move to NAND flash memory."

DigiTimes, which makes no mention in its report whether the 16GB video iPod model would include a touch-screen interface akin to the iPhone, has been hit or miss on the subject of Apple rumors over the course of time. However, the publication's most recent round of "hits" have outweighed its misses.

Still, it should be noted that DigiTimes as recently as last month reported that a multi-touch video iPod would arrive in August, as opposed to its most recent claims of late September.