Apple has been instrumental in fuelling the growth of the NAND flash market but the forthcoming launch of Apple's iCloud storage service could have "significant implications" for the market going forward and potentially weaken demand, according to IHS iSuppli Research.
On the back of the iPad and iPhone, Apple's share of the global NAND flash market has grown to just under 30% and is expected to remain steady for the next two years. By 2015, the amount of NAND flash bought by Apple will increase from 5.2 billion gigabyte-equivalent units to 23.9 billion although its share will decline to around 25%.
Dee Nguyen, memory analyst at IHS, predicted Apple's iCloud cloud storage service "could have significant implications" for the NAND flash market because the iPhone and iPad accounted for a disproportionate share of it. "Any move among Apple users to offload storage to the company's iCloud storage service could mean a corresponding decrease in demand for physical NAND flash memory in the future," Nguyen stated.
The company argued the combined effect of Apple's huge database of users moving storage of their songs to the cloud "could make a serious dent on NAND flash demand throughout the industry".
Nevertheless, the threat level to the NAND flash industry in the near and immediate term remained low. Users would still be reliant on physical storage because of iCloud's dependence on Wi-Fi access (which is not ubiquitous) and security concerns about storing content in centralised cloud locations which have been highlighted by recent high profile breaches at Sony, Sega and others.