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Taiwanese memory makers debate future iPod video prospects

Precisely when Apple Inc. plans to overhaul its video iPod line of digital media players with the latest NAND flash and touch-screen technologies remains the topic of considerable debate, even among the Taiwanese memory makers who will eventually supply components for the devices, according to a published report.

DigiTimes in a Friday piece claims that some memory module makers in Taiwan are saying that over the third quarter Apple has placed monthly orders for about 20 million units (in 1Gbit equivalent units) of NAND flash, a quantity that suggests the company is planning for additional demand, and which the module makers are attributing to a flash-based iPod video.

However, the rumor site reports that based on recent price trends, one flash-related sales manager believes that Apple may need to postpone its launch plans for the NAND flash-based iPod video beyond the third quarter as the product would not be competitive.

Either way, the point appears moot for the time being, as sources have continually reported that a true (standalone) video iPod still appears to be a ways out, with the most recent rumblings suggesting a late 2007, early 2008 launch at best. Those sources have maintained that Apple is unwilling to introduce a product that would square-off against iPhone so early in its life-cycle.

In its report, DigiTimes raises the possibility that Apple should be able to meet a late 2007 launch schedule, but may opt to introduce models with lower storage capacity that the current video iPods in order to do so.