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Apple bullish on iPhone refresh sales

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Apple is apparently quite optimistic about its upcoming iPhone refresh, having ordered 100 million 8Gb NAND flash chips from Asian suppliers.

According to a Thursday report by the Taiwanese market-watchers at DigiTimes, the chips were ordered mostly from Samsung. Apple's NAND grab, along with orders from Nokia and Sony, is causing supplies of the flash chips to tighten, according to the site's unnamed sources.

These are very low-density chips that'd need to be package-stacked to add up to any decent-sized capacity for an iPod shuffle or nano - or, more interestingly, for an entry-level iPhone. But maybe Apple is intending to dive into a lower-end market than it has yet explored.

Apple's market-predicters may not disagree with Wednesday's semi-annual "Taking Stock with Teens" survey by the analysts at Piper Jaffray, which indicates that the iPod may be reaching a saturation point among young trendoids.

It appears that Cupertino may be thinking that it's time for teens to slip their iPods into their junk drawers and move up to iPhones. After all, the same Piper Jaffray study shows that only eight per cent of students say they own an iPhone.

And if the long-rumored $99 iPhone is indeed on the horizon, hoardes of fashion-forward teens hounding mommy and daddy for a pocketful of touch-screen status could eat through those 100 million low-density NAND chips in a flash. ®

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