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Apple MacBook Airs to get new, superfast 19nm Flash

Obvious implications for the iPad

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Apple's revised MacBook Air notebook is set to get a speed boost by using very fast and very small new flash memory chips from Toshiba.

According to a story in Japan's Macotakara site, Apple is set to use flash built on a 19nm process and transferring data at 400Mbit/s using the Toggle DDR2.0 interface.

There is only one supplier of 19nm NAND, the smallest process in the world, and that is Toshiba with a 64Gbit, 2-bit multi-level cell (MLC) chip announced in April. This chip uses the Toggle DDR2.0 interface.

Mass production begins this quarter. Toshiba says it is able to "assemble sixteen 64Gbit NAND flash memory chips in one package and to deliver 128GB devices for application in smartphones and tablet PCs."

Two MacBook Airs

Two MacBook Airs (Apple).

The Macotakara report says the current MacBook Air uses Blade X-gale flash, also made by Toshiba, and on a 24nm process. This will be replaced by the 19nm chips, and give Apple faster flash memory, taking up less real estate inside the Air's casing.

This flash would help the rumoured Sandy Bridge processor power through apps faster. The refreshed Air is also thought to use the new Thunderbolt interface cable to connect peripherals. All this would keep up the pressure on Apple's competition and there are obvious possibilities regarding iPad use of the flash technology.

Interestingly Toshiba has a 3-bit version of this NAND coming later this year, meaning a 50 per cent capacity increase and a possible 192GB device for Apple to use, or a physically smaller 128GB device.

This story is speculative and comes to Macotakara from someone in an Asian electronics component supplier. ®

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