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Analysis: The Future of Apple, Based on Flash Memory

As Wu writes, “In our recent supply chain reviews, we see an increasing use of NAND flash technology as part of Apple’s future developments.”

Flash-based Apple subnotebooks

Among these possible future devices, Wu believes Apple is planning to launch a new flash memory-based subnotebook and will also launch a range of flash memory-based iPod products throughout 2008.

The analyst believes that Apple will introduce its new subnotebook in the second half of 2007, so that it can take advantage of the current strong demand for MacBook and MacBook Pros.

However, the presentation of the product within that period of time will depend on the ability of memory manufacturers to supply it at lower prices, thus allowing it to be “economically viable,” says Wu.

Taking into account the price, Wu indicates that a 1 GB of flash memory can be around 5 dollars, which means that 32 GB of this type of storage would cost 160 dollars.

This figure is much higher than conventional hard drives, which currently cost around $ 22. The analyst indicates that “throughout 2007, flash memory will be present only in high-end ultraportable models.”

IPhone OS X

Apple’s iPhone is also present in Wu’s analysis, who predicts that new flash memory-based subnotebooks will use a reduced version of Mac OS X, like the one used in Apple’s mobile.

“The Mac OS X ‘mini’ will be used. From a software point of view, our sources indicate that Apple is heading in the same direction to use the same version of OS X that is used in the next iPhone. We believe it will be particularly important because it has less impact and can work with 4GB of storage. “

In 2008: iPod with flash memory

There are also rumors that Apple could migrate its current range of iPod products to use flash memory-based storage and dispense with the current hard-drive-based architecture.

Such a change would make sense for a product range often penalized for reliability and durability issues. Flash memory offers advantages over moving hard drive components: longer battery life, products are more durable, power up faster, and can be designed in smaller sizes than is possible when using hard drives.

But we will still have to wait, the analyst warns “our sources indicate that although Apple plans to migrate the rest of its iPod product line to flash memory, the current price of the components means that this probably does not happen until the end of 2007 or early 2008 “.