Apple's search for flash memory supplies means the company is in talks with Samsung and Hynix Semiconductor to arrange long-term deals to secure that memory.

Despite recently abandoning plans to make a major joint investment in a flash memory fab, Samsung and Apple are about to sign a long-term contract worth "several hundred million US dollars", a report claims. That deal is expected to close at the end of the month.

The Korea Exchange asked both Samsung and Hynix yesterday to clarify speculation about the negotiations. Both firms confirmed themselves to be negotiating with Apple.

Previous reports claimed Apple secured 40 per cent of Samsung's memory production to secure that component for its iPods as it ramped-up production in advance of launching the iPod nano.

Apple's moves to secure its memory stocks seem likely to add to the pressure on competing music player makers that use flash memory in their products. With lower market share and unit sales, smaller music player makers will be unable to match the prices Apple can secure, if only through buying in volume.