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Toshiba Ramping Up Flash Production Ahead of iPod Refresh?

DigiTimes reports that Toshiba is planning to ramp up its NAND flash memory production in August, with claims that the production is tied to contracted orders leading to speculation that Apple has begun preparations for launching new iPods soon after. The news is unsurprising, as Apple's yearly product cycles generally see updates to the iPod line in the September/October timeframe.

Toshiba is expected to ramp up its NAND flash production to over 90% of its capacity in August, according to sources at memory card makers. Despite the increases in output, the chipmaker has told downstream players that its supply to the spot market will be limited, prompting speculation that the Japan supplier is seeing strong demand from Apple, the sources indicated.

Apple noted during its earnings conference call last week that it had made a $500 million prepayment to Toshiba for flash memory.

Third-party iPod case manufacturers in China have also been launching products designed to fit rumored iPod touch and iPod nano revisions, although just how much advance information such manufacturers are privy to remains unclear.

Continued rumors of an Apple tablet release before the end of the year will also lead to speculation that some of Toshiba's production ramp may be related to the launch of the new device.