What Does Apple’s Latest Purchase Mean?

December 14, 2011
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I don’t think anyone outside of the flash memory world had heard of Anobit before this week

I don’t think anyone outside of the flash memory world had heard of Anobit before this week

Recently, Apple announced their purchase of Israeli flash memory producer, Anobit. The proposed purchase would be $500M (just a drop in the bucket of their $81B cash reserves). However, this purchase has long-reaching implications on not only their mobile/tablet portfolio, but also their computing capabilities.

Mobile/Tablet Implications

Apple has long insisted that removeable media was unnecessary, and have kept it out of their products. However, it is only recently that I believe this is possible. The promulgation of cloud services, as well the final roll out of LTE networks have made local storage almost a thing of the past. Of course, LTE networks are not omnipresent (nor are 3G even). I imagine this will lessen the cost of iPhones and iDevices to Apple (certainly not for the consumer) and may produce some performance gains (if Apple pours R&D funds into Anobit).

Apple uses lack of removeable media as a reason to upsell iDevices

Computing Implications

Apple was the first mainstream computer manufacturer to put SSDs in their computers (the MacBook Air). Since then they have made SSDs a key addition to their architecting, boosting the performance capabilities of their computers. An investment in flash memory production leads me to believe that Apple will be putting flash storage into all of their computers. Quick-boot capabilities have been used extensively on netbooks and high-power motherboards, but only the super geeky use them for every day computing. I think it entirely possible that Apple is trying to create fastboot capabilities for all of their computer offerings.

The Macbook Air is a great example of the benefits of SSD technology

Overall thoughts on the purchase

I think Apple is working hard to take control over their supply chain. As well, they are responding to the myriad of pressures that emanate from Asian sourcing. Apple has received a couple shiners in the media regarding the Foxconn situation. The chance to own part of their supply chain, as well as increase their corporate image should not be passed up. Lastly, Apple is sitting on a huge amount of cash reserves, and I foresee similar purchases in the near future.