Wu: Apple Going Solid State for All iPods, Portables?

According to Apple Insider, the HDD-based iPod will soon be a think of the past. After analyzing Apple’s NAND flash-based storage supply chain, Shaw Wu at American Technology Research has concluded that future iterations of Apple’s iPod (standard, not just the Shuffle and Nano) will be flash-RAM based, meaning higher reliability and longer battery life. NAND is more expensive than standard HDD, but the prices are falling, and at the same time capacities are increasing, the only combination that would make the change work.

In addition, Wu sees the bulk purchase of high-capacity NAND drives as confirmation of the flash-drive based “MacBook Thin” sub-notebook, something that’s been rumored to be in the works for a few months now. While NAND-based notebooks are on the market now, there are none produced in the numbers Apple would most likely turn out.

The combined purchasing power of both product lines would directly contribute to getting decent pries on the 32- and 64GB drives needed for both the notebook and iPod devices, as Apple is known to not just buy NAND in bulk, but to also dictate pricing to Samsung and other manufacturers. Will this translate to lower pricing on these new models? Not likely, expect to pay a premium at first, with prices falling as production ramps up.

In all, we see the iPod switch as a no-brainer, but the sub-notebook as questionable. Apple will probably switch the MacBook lineup to NAND at some point, at least the Pro, to take advantage of the speeds and battery life savings. The idea of a whole new product line, though, still remains dubious.

NAND flash to play bigger role in future Mac and iPod models [Apple Insider]