While the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has created a global consumer frenzy, eager Apple fans are still anticipating the release of the upgraded 2GB storage iPad Air 2, and Macbook Pro, which will be equipped with LPDDR3 DRAM for the first time.
Apple’s consumption of mobile DRAM will grow from the current 16.5 percent of the industry’s total production volume to 25 percent in 2015, as the California-based tech giant equips more smartphones, tablets and even notebook products with DRAM, said Avril Wu, Assistant Vice President of DRAMeXchange, a subsidiary of the Taiwan-based market intelligence firm TrendForce.
“Since Apple is already a major player in the mobile DRAM market, PC DRAM manufacturers will switch to mobile DRAM to meet the company’s demands,” said Wu. “This has indirectly caused supply shortages in the PC DRAM and server DRAM sectors.”
Top three DRAM manufacturers expand production capacity to meet Apple demand
After rejoining the Apple supply chain, Samsung is adjusting 2015 production expansion plans. Aside from speeding up the inclusion of the DRAM 20nm process, the South Korean electronics giant is also considering adding mobile DRAM production capacity in its new factory Line 17.
Meanwhile, DRAM manufacturer SK Hynix has expanded mobile DRAM production capacity as well to attract Apple orders. That strategy has borne fruit, as Apple has become its second largest mobile DRAM client. SK Hynix’s M14 factory is still under construction, while its M10 will transform into a mobile DRAM Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). DRAMeXchange believes changes at the M10 factory are aimed at offering Apple more flexible mobile DRAM production capacity.
Micron Group, which is another major Apple supplier, has designated 70-80% of mobile DRAM production capacity at its factory in Hiroshima for Apple orders. With the introduction of 25 nm and even 20 nm processing into the manufacturer’s mobile DRAM mass production plan, production volume is expected to be scaled up to meet Apple’s demand in the second half of 2015.
Despite DRAM manufacturers’ continual production expansion, a balance between supply and demand can be achieved as long as manufacturers control production volume. By doing so, manufacturers can stabilize profits and maintain healthy growth in 2015.