Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Toshiba NAND Flash Memory Means Two Things - Good And Maybe Not So Good

It's been two cycles where the iPhone has not been upgraded to a higher capacity.  And with the just released iPad 2, the maximum storage capacity remains 64GB.  However, with the just released NAND flash memory, we could be looking at the next iPhone with increased capacity.  

If patterns hold, we could be looking at a low-end 8 GB iPhone 4 and a 32 GB and 64 GB iPhone 5 (I like iPhone 4G better).  And it also possible that we can see a midway upgrade with the iPad 2 in the fall or just before Holiday Season with the capacity of the iPad 2 increased.  

With the new memory, it affords Apple a greater flexibility than its competitors.  How would you like the  8GB iPhone 4 at $49 or $99?  Or with Apple possibly increasing the iPad 2 storage capacity while keeping the same price points, Apple can add a newer low end model with 16GB for $449 or even lower at $399.

And this, as a happy iPod touch owner, I do look forward to a 128GB model.  It'll go nicely with my iSpot should I decide against the next iPhone.

Those are the good news, albeit speculative on my part.  Now the possible bad news, depending on what you think.  

If the iPod touch does get an upgrade to 128 GB, we can be looking at the end of the iPod Classic.  The possibility is there because the Classic has not been updated since 2009.  After all, the iOS is the future.  The general target for the iPod touch are kids who want the iPhone and all the greatness of the iTunes ecosystem without paying for a hefty monthly fee.

My hope is that Apple will keep the Classic around with a higher storage capacity - there is a new 1.8" hard drive, also from Toshiba, with 220 GB.  Apple already pretty much owes the music player market and the Classic is important to make sure it continues to dominate the market.  But Apple does have a way of keeping off the old and obsolete.

Again, good news for the iOS devices and maybe bad news for the Classic.

More at MacNN.

Note:  I've set the future lower end iPhone at 8 GB because this will allow Apple to continue to differentiate the high-end iPhones and possible lower the price to $49 to attack its competitor at the low-end.  Perhaps, we'll see a 8GB iPhone 4 at $49 and a 16GB model at $99.

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