Apple's main flash memory supplier, Samsung, will produce 16GB capacity units next year.

Samsung, which controls nearly 60 percent of the world's NAND flash memory market, claimed the new chip should "entrench its dominance in a market enjoying strong growth", said UBS News.

Samsung has doubled the maximum capacities of its flash memory devices every year since 1999, when it entered the market.

Apple has secured 40 percent of Samsung's flash memory production for use in its iPod shuffle and iPod nano, causing local music player makers to complain that they can no longer compete with Apple on price.

The new flash memory will be manufactured using a 50-nanometre production process, the company said. The technology will allow memory card makers to design cards with a capacity of 32GB by putting 16 of the new chips on a single card.

Given this potential, analysts expect to see some manufacturers begin to use such chips inside notebooks. This would reduce power consumption, weight, start-up and seek times in comparison to conventional hard drives.