Monday, July 27, 2009, 03:05 pm PT (06:05 pm ET)
Apple hogging Toshiba memory; future 1GHz iPhone chip?Apple's demand for flash memory is proving insatiable in the run-up to new iPods, according to one report. Also, Samsung has developed technology that could increase the processor speed of future Apple handhelds.
Toshiba may be overwhelmed by Apple memory orders
Mixed messages from Toshiba may be a clue to a major order of NAND flash memory from Apple, if claimed sources at circuit makers are accurate.
The apparent insiders for DigiTimes say Toshiba is boosting its production to a high 90 percent of its capacity next month but, strangely, is telling customers in the spot market — companies that buy on short notice — that it won't have much supply for their orders. The combination is usually a sign that a long-term client is swallowing up most of the components and leaving little else for the smaller companies that can't always make these deals.
It's speculated that the mystery drain on flash memory is none other than Apple, which has a history of creating shortages in the flash memory market whenever it's gearing up for the release of a new iPhone or iPod. The American firm also recently confirmed a $500 million contract with Toshiba that will guarantee a healthy supply of NAND flash for an unspecified amount of time, making it the most probable source of the problem.
Like most home electronics companies, Apple normally queues up production weeks or months ahead of when it actually intends to ship its products and is more than likely bracing itself for holiday sales of new mobile devices that could include iPods with cameras.
Samsung details 1GHz ARM processor
On Tuesday, Samsung escalated the race to faster mobile processors with word of its first ARM-based processor design to be built on a 45 nanometer assembly process.
So far known only as Hummingbird, it would use the smaller, cooler running architecture to increase the maximum clock speed of future system-on-chip processors to 1GHz, or significantly above Samsung's current 833MHz peak, without consuming more energy or wasting more heat. It would use the same Cortex-A8 platform found in the iPhone 3GS and would be Samsung's fastest ARM processor as a result.
Whether or not it will ever reach an Apple mobile device is up in the air, however. While every iPhone and iPod touch to date has used a Samsung-designed chip, Apple has signaled its intent to use custom-designed processors from recent acquisition P.A. Semi sometime in the future, avoiding any dependency on Samsung's plans for improving its own mobile hardware.
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