Two things happen like clockwork every year: Apple raises the capacities on its NANDflash-based iPods and the iPhone, and analysts like iSuppli release a report saying that worldwide supplies of NAND flash are likely to be constrained as a result. The supply constraints aren't likely to affect Apple, which signed a supply deal with Toshiba last year, but other companies that depend on flash memory for their consumer electronics products may find themselves scrambling to find enough memory to keep production going ... just like last year, and the year before that, when analysts said almost exactly the same thing.
iSuppli predicts Apple will ship in excess of 33 million iPhones this year with an average capacity of 35.2 GB of NAND flash memory -- consistent with a doubling of capacities across the line. 2010 sales estimates for the iPad range from 4 million units and up, and the iPod touch may also see a capacity bump to 128 GB in September/October. That all adds up to a lot of flash memory. With the introduction of the iPad and a likely storage increase to 64 GB for the next-gen iPhone in mid-year, it's no surprise that chipmakers will have a hard time keeping up.