Apple's iPad drives NAND demand

According to research from analysts at IHS, it will be Apple’s iPad which will continue dominating worldwide demand for NAND in media tablets – through to 2015.

In 2011, the Apple tablet swallowed 78 percent of the world’s global gigabyte shipments for NAND in tablets. That was down 92 percent in 2010, when Apple was mostly the only player in tablets.

Even though there has been a glut of Apple competition in 2011, with more to follow throughout this year, Cupertino is expected to remain the leader in purchasing with a 72 percent share.

As more players make inroads into the media tablet marketing, Apple’s hold will steadily decrease, but even in 2015 it is expected to make up the majority of NAND demand – accounting for 58 percent. IHS says this is not just because of Apple’s strong position in the market, but just how much the iPad needs strong memory to run smoothly.

Dee Nguyen, an IHS memory analyst, said because the iPad is a high-end offering, it runs on a bigger density of NAND than the competition. “Because of this, Apple’s iPad will continue to drive the growth of NAND sales in the tablet market for the next several years,” he said. 

Apple’s latest tablet has exactly the same memory configurations as the iPad 2, with 16, 32, and 64 gigabyte flavours on offer. The average NAND density of the iPad is expected to grow 9.4 percent in 2012 to 33.8 gigabytes per unit.

IHS expects overall shipments to reach 16.3 billion gigabytes into 2015. That is up an impressive factor of 10 from 1.6 billion in 2011. Although media tablets only commanded nine percent of global NAND shipments in 2011, by 2015 the figure should be more around the 17 percent mark. Rival tablets will manage 20.2 gigabytes in 2012, IHS estimates, or 3.2 percent of total NAND demand. The analyst house points out, then, that success has been “uneven across the field” in media tablet NAND demand.