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Tuesday, July 10, 2007, 07:25 am PT (10:25 am ET)

Apple NAND flash memory orders on the rise

With Apple increasing the amount NAND flash ordered from its suppliers, other customers of Hynix Semiconductors and Samsung Electronics are seeing growing difficulties in securing sufficient stock, reports DigiTimes.

Citing sources at Taiwan memory houses, the Taiwanese rumor publication said that both Hynix and Samsung began reserving more of their stock for Apple starting in July, resulting in a strain on supply of the solid-state memory chips to other customers.

"Both Hynix and Samsung had informed their customers in late June that supply in July will be constrained, citing the fact that Apple is about to pre-stock NAND flash to meet the coming seasonal upturn," the publication said.

Historically, Apple has used the summer months of July and August to stockpile components such as NAND flash and hard disk drives for new products that follow in autumn. For instance, the Cupertino-based consumer electronics maker has introduced a new version of its top-selling iPod nano during the September timeframe for the past two years, both of which employed NAND flash.

This year is expected to be no different for Apple, which in addition to new flash-based iPods, is also assumed to be working on a flash-enabled thin notebook and a lower-cost version of its iPhone handset — both of which could hit the market prior to this year's holiday shopping season.

Though able to land more NAND flash stock from the chipmakers than second-tier players, first-tier memory module houses — including A-Data Technology, Kingston Technology, Transcend Information and Power Quotient International (PQI) — are finding supply insufficient as result of Apple's heightened flash needs, DigiTimes said.

Some second-tier players, according to the publication's sources, may even be seeing "no availability of stock."