iPads didn’t make an appearance in the new Steve Jobs Theater yesterday during Apple’s event, but some models did experience a change. Apple raised prices for select iPad Pro 10.5- and 12.9-inch models by $50 yesterday, and a report by 9to5mac suggests it’s due to the increased prices of NAND flash storage.
The 256GB version of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro now costs $799 and the 512GB model now costs $999. The 256GB model of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro costs $949 after the price increase, while its 512GB counterpart now costs $1,149. The prices for the 64GB base models of each iPad Pro have not changed: the 64GB 10.5-inch tablet still costs $649 while the 12.9-inch model with the same amount of storage costs $799.
The report cites “sources in the know” that claim the price increase is due to the increased cost of NAND flash storage. The NAND shortage has been an issue that manufacturers have had to deal with since the beginning of the year. It’s mostly due to the increased demand for SSDs and the transition from 2D NAND to 3D NAND.
“Average contract prices of client-grade SSDs in the PC-OEM market are rising this first quarter because not only PC clients are aggressively stocking up their inventories, smartphone clients are also maintaining strong demand for storage components,” senior research manager of DRAMeXchange Alan Chen said in an industry report from March. “At the same time, the industry-wide transition to 3D-NAND and 2D-NAND TLC production has sharply reduced the supply of Flash memory of the 2D-NAND MLC type. Thus, the price increase of MLC-based SSDs is outpacing that of TLC-based SSDs.”
Apple’s CFO Luca Maestri mentioned the “cost pressure” from memory in the company’s second quarter earnings call, and it seems the increase in iPad Pro prices is how consumers will feel the effects of the shortage for now. But Apple is one of the manufacturers contributing to the shortage as well: the three new iPhones that debuted yesterday, including the high-end iPhone X, need DRAM and NAND chips. Previous reports say Apple’s orders to produce the new iPhones caused other manufacturers to place orders for chips well before they needed them, to ensure they would have supplies on hand. Hopefully, iPad Pro prices will come back down once the NAND supply stabilizes, but when that will be is uncertain.