It seems like rumors of iPod nano capacity bumps just keep going higher and higher without (yet) any resolution. Just earlier this month, there were rumors circulating that Apple was on a NAND flash buying spree and was about to bump the iPod nano's high-end capacity from the current 4GB to 8GB, but now it seems like a new Gartner report (via MacRumors ) is claiming that strong iPod sales will drive NAND growth so much that we may see a 12GB (twelve!) iPod nano before the holiday season this year.
"We expect Apple to introduce a new, high-end NAND flash-based iPod by the fourth quarter of 2006, and this player will most likely have 10GB to 12GB of storage capacity. The impact of an iPod with this storage capacity will have significant implications for the NAND flash market," said Mr Erensen.
The report claims that Apple's introduction of both the original 2 and 4 gig nanos as well as the later introduction of the 1 gig nano had significant impacts on the NAND market, as Apple holds a fair majority of the digital player market and competitors both dropped prices and increased capacity in order to catch up. To elaborate on why they believe the 12GB nano is on the way:
Gartner forecasts that a 16Gb (2GB) device will be available in the third quarter for about $30, down from its current price of about $35. Due to Apple's procurement power and investment, it is conceivable that it could get pricing for a device at $25 or even $20. This pricing would enable capacities of 12GB, leaving enough room for the remaining component and manufacturing costs as well as Apple's margin, while still reaching a $250 price point.
However, with such fortune for hopeful iPod nano buyers comes the aggravation that many have had to deal with regarding new Apple products—shortages and delays. Gartner predicts that if the above were to happen that there may be a slight shortage of NAND flash storage going into the holiday season of 2006 and spilling over into 2007. Surprise, surprise!
"If a high-capacity NAND-based iPod is introduced, the severity of the allocation will intensify during the fourth quarter of this year, and our outlook of supply and demand for the first quarter of 2007 could become more severe than initially anticipated," said Joseph Unsworth, principal research analyst for Gartner.
So, if/when these new super-nanos come out, be sure to
order immediately and choke up the whole system be patient. I know that I'm not the only one who's been secretly wishing all along for a nano with storage capacity larger than 4GB. Now, let's all put it on our Santa lists and pray to the elves…