DigiTimes reports demand from Apple for NAND memory chips is lower than expected and that memory makers are now selling NAND below the production cost:
In contrast to the huge procurement of NAND flash the company made in 2007, Apple seems to not have started making big procurements in 2008. While memory makers are worrying about the consumption level of Apple, mainstream NAND flash prices are already priced below cost, according to sources at Taiwan memory makers.
The sources estimated that Apple procured about US$1.2-1.3 billion worth of NAND flash in 2007, with Intel, Hynix Semiconductor, Micron Technology and Samsung Electronics all being major suppliers. Apple's concentration of its procurement within several months last year resulted in a more rapid price fluctuation in NAND flash, the sources noted.
Despite Apple having revealed a solid-state disk (SSD) version of its MacBook Air, the high retail price is unlikely to encourage huge consumption among mainstream consumers, which can hardly spur meaningful SSD penetration and NAND flash procurement, the sources said. But they do regard the speculated launch of an ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) from Apple, which is said to use multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash, as a possible catalyst to pricing.