Apple could cut the capacity of DRAM in its upcoming anniversary iPhones with the rising prices of storage and memory components hitting its profit margins.

Apple acknowledged the rising DRAM and NAND prices during its second-quarter earnings call Tuesday. The company expects the pricing pressure to continue in the near term.

Those prices, in turn, could impact the memory capacity of the next iPhone. Trendforce, which tracks SSD and DRAM pricing, predicted the iPhone 8 will be capped at 3GB of DRAM.

Consumers will have to wait until the successor to the iPhone 8 to get 4GB of DRAM, TrendForce said. Those phones would be released in 2018 or 2019.

Trendforce is predicting that three iPhones will be released this year. Two iPhones—a  5.8-inch iPhone with an AMOLED display and a 5.5-inch model with an LCD screen—will have 3GB of memory. A 4.7-inch model with an LCD screen will have 2GB of DRAM, the company predicted.

The current 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus has 3GB of LPDDR4 memory, while the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 has 2GB of memory. The memory is supplied by Samsung, according to iFixit.com.

Smartphone makers are plugging more DRAM and flash storage into devices because users are embracing multimedia, gaming, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. One version of Samsung’s Galaxy S8+ has 6GB of DRAM, but it is available only in South Korea. 

Shortages have caused the prices of DRAM for mobile devices and PCs to spike. Trendforce says that prices for mobile DRAM like LPDDR4 will increase by more than 10 percent this year.



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