Portelligent has confirmed months of market rumours claiming Apple's new iPod shuffle is driven by a chip from SigmaTel.

A Thomas Weisel analyst first claimed Apple would employ chips from SigmaTel in a flash memory-based device in October.3

He said: "Based on our industry contacts, we are confident that, one, Apple is planning to launch a flash-based player, and two, SigmaTel is the provider of controller chip for that device."

Portellligent ran a product teardown analysis of an iPod shuffle, and found that the device uses SigmaTel's D-Major (TM) STMP3550 MP3 audio decoder chip for audio processing.

"This determination provides concrete verification of weeks of rumors in the trade press that the two companies had reached an agreement which would make a SigmaTel device a key part of the new flash-based Apple music player," said Dave Carey, president of Portelligent.

the iPod shuffle is selling out across the US. In December, Smith Barney analyst Richard Gardner said he expects Apple to sell 22 million flash-based iPods over the next two fiscal years.