Report: iPad Will Dominate Tablet NAND Usage Until At Least 2015

Not content with dramatic increases of semiconductor uses, Apple’s iPad will also dominate worldwide sales of tablet NAND Flash memory until at least 2015, according to a report late Tuesday from IHS iSuppli.

iPad Percentage of NAND Use

Chart by The Mac Observer from iSuppli data.

While starting off in 2010, a year in which it was largely unchallenged, with 92 percent of all tablet NAND flash memory usage, the iPad’s use has declined to 78 percent in 2011 due to the large number of competing tablets that have entered the market. iSuppli attributes Apple’s continued dominance in the face of so many competitors not only to its strong lead in overall sales but also to the iPad’s higher than average NAND density.

While the iPad ships in 16, 32, and 64 GB configurations, when compared to sales, the average NAND use per iPad will be 33.8 GB in 2012. The average NAND use per non-iPad tablet will be significantly less, at 20.2 GB per unit in 2012. 

iPad NAND Usage Overall

Chart by The Mac Observer from iSuppli data.

“Apple’s continued domination of the sales of NAND flash for media tablets reflects not only the iPad’s commanding market share lead, but its extensive memory usage,” said Dee Nguyen, memory analyst at IHS. “In keeping with its status as a high-end offering in the tablet market, the iPad employs a larger density of NAND than its competitors. Because of this, Apple’s iPad will continue to drive the growth of NAND sales in the tablet market for the next several years.” 

According to iSuppli, that growth will give Apple 72 percent of the market in 2012 before falling to 58 percent of a much larger market by 2015. 

DRAM MemoryMemory chip image via Shuterstock.

Also mentioned in the report is the iPad’s efficient DRAM memory usage, a trend that’s almost the opposite of the NAND situation. While the newest iPad has 1 GB of RAM for the first time, the first two iPads were equipped with 256 MB and 512 MB of RAM, respectively, yet were still able to outperform competing tablets with twice that amount.

“Apple has been able to limit the amount of DRAM usage in the iPad because its iOS operating system and hardware are designed in tandem and optimized for each other,” observed Mike Howard, senior principal analyst for DRAM & memory at IHS. “Android, however, doesn’t enjoy this luxury. As a result, many Android handsets and tablets shipped with 8 Gigabits [1 GB] of DRAM in 2011.”

While the use of DRAM in tablets makes up a relatively small percentage of total DRAM use (about 3.5 percent in 2012), the rise of tablets in the computing and consumer electronics industries means that tablet DRAM use will rise to 8.1 percent of the total market by 2016. “For a category to go from non-existence to consuming nearly 10% of all DRAM in just six years is extraordinary,” Howard said.