Apple is reportedly using NOR flash memory chips stemming from Macronix International and Winbond Electronics in its next-generation iPhone. The iPhone 5, as the media refers to it, is expected to launch next week, on September 12.
Taiwan’s well-connected but not-always-accurate DigiTimes
claims to have scored a scoop on the flash memory employed by the next-generation iPhone.
Apparently, Tim Cook has secured orders from Macronix International and Winbond Electronics to provide “NOR flash memory” for the iPhone 5, “which will be announced in mid-September,” says
the trade publication citing sources within the supply chain.
Macronix and Winbond declined to comment on their relationship with Apple, and thus were not able to confirm that such orders had actually been placed by the Cupertino giant.
Apple was known to be using NAND flash memory in its devices but, according to these sources, even the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro use the NOR specification.
Macronix is reportedly already supplying NOR flash for Apple's MacBook Pro and MacBook Air notebooks. For Winbond, however, this is a first.
We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we skipped over the science lesson, so here’s a few things on NOR (from Wikipedia
NOR and NAND flash differ in two important ways:
- the connections of the individual memory cells are different
- the interface provided for reading and writing the memory is different (NOR allows random-access for reading, NAND allows only page access)
These two are linked by the design choices made in the development of NAND flash. A goal of NAND flash development was to reduce the chip area required to implement a given capacity of flash memory, and thereby to reduce cost per bit and increase maximum chip capacity so that flash memory could compete with magnetic storage devices like hard disks.
Whether or not Apple has special plans with the flash memory in its next iPhone remains to be seen.
The sources also revealed to DigiTimes that Macronix has roughly three quarters of the total NOR-chip orders needed for the first batch of iPhone 5 units. Winbond, who now needs to prove that it deserves its spot in Apple’s supply chain, received the remainder, according to the sources.