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Apple shifting to all-flash iPods?

An analyst thinks Apple is getting ready to dump small hard drives in its video iPods in favor of flash memory.

By the end of this year, Apple could be planning to shift all of its iPods over to flash memory storage, according to an analyst report.


The report, from Prudential Equity Group analyst Jesse Tortora, was spotted by AppleInsider. Tortora believes that by late 2007 Apple could shift the video iPods over to flash memory as part of a redesign of the product. The iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle already use flash memory.

Flash memory has many advantages. It has no moving parts, unlike hard drives that can fail from repeated jostling or falls, and it allows Apple to make smaller, thinner iPods. Moving to flash memory would also enable Apple to increase the battery life of a video iPod from 3.5 hours of video playback to 5.5 hours, based on the 30GB model, Tortora said.

The drawback is that flash is more expensive, especially in the quantities needed for the video iPod line. But Apple has flash memory deals with Samsung and other companies, and flash memory prices continue to decline.

Totora also predicted that the redesigned iPods might look a lot like the iPhone, with flash memory, integrated Wi-Fi and GPS (global positioning system) chips, and a more refined touch screen display.