Apple's huge investment in flash memory may be motivated by something more than just keeping iPods in the shops, a columnist suggested last night.

Writing on the Motley Fool website, columnist Seth Jayson suggests Apple may intend using flash memory within future Macs - and that this step could make booting a Mac almost instantaneous.

He admits it's a rumour: "Someone's gotta be the one who starts the rumour, right? So here goes," he writes at the start of the piece.

"Could Apple possibly use all that flash RAM just for gadgets?", he asks.

He goes on to describe an Intel project to integrate flash memory into computers, memory which would carry chunks of a computer's OS on board. This step would speed a computer up because that data would not have to be "loaded into RAM" at start-up, the effect being almost instantly booting computers.

He proceeds to explain that taking such a step would help Apple's bid for a place in the living room with future multimedia devices, as users wouldn't have to endure a computer's start-up time.

"It's my bet that Apple will not only move in this direction but also get there before the rest of the crowd," he concludes.