Apple will source its memory for use in iPhones from Samsung, due to the upcoming U.S. export controls that will be imposed on the Cupertino firm’s top Chinese NAND flash chipmakers, reports DigiTimes.
Apple had planned to source 128-layer 3D NAND flash memory chips from Yangtze Memory Technologies (YMTC) for use in iPhones sold in the Chinese market as early as this year, with the expectation of buying up to 40% of the memory used in all iPhones.
However, those plans hit a snag when YMTC and 30 other Chinese entities were added to an “Unverified” list of companies that U.S. officials have been unable to inspect. The supplier is expected to be added to a trade restrictions blacklist in early December.
U.S. companies are prohibited from sharing any design, technologies, documents, or specifications to companies on the blacklist without a license.
YMTC is also being investigated by the U.S. Commerce Department over whether it violated Washington’s export controls by selling chips to Huawei, which is already blacklisted.
DigiTimes says the restrictions will cause Apple to turn to Samsung as its memory supplier in 2023.
Samsung, long the main supplier of DRAM chips for iPhones, is set to start next year supplying NAND flash for iOS devices from its plant in China’s Xian plant, which now contributes 40% of the Korean vendor’s total 3D NAND flash capacity, ranging from 128 to 176 layers, the sources said.
While some memory manufacturers have cut production due to sluggish NAND flash demand, Samsung has not cut production, likely partly due to its entry into the Apple supply chain. The Korean manufacturer is also reportedly able to afford quote cuts and output increases, strengthening its ability to compete.