updated 09:00 am EST, Tue December 20, 2011
Apple deal for Anobit said sealed
Apple's rumored deal to buy Anobit appeared to have been confirmed on Tuesday. Along with a new claim from Israeli news outlet Calcalist, the country's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Apple to the country following the apparent acquisition. Terms of the deal weren't made public, but were said to be the equivalent of $400 to $500 million.
Anobit, based in the technology hub of Herzliya, currently makes a DSP companion chip for flash memory. Apple is believed to already use this in iOS devices and the MacBook Air to improve the reliability of multi-level cell flash memory, which is denser and cheaper than single-level cell but normally not as long-lasting. The Israeli firm claims to get SLC's trustworthiness even in three-bit-per-cell flash used for some of the highest-capacity hardware.
With flash now almost ubiquitous in Apple's mobile devices and now the basis of its entry-level notebook, the company is likely to want deeper optimization to give it an advantage in storage. Using MLC memory could give it high-capacity solid-state drives that both improve the competitiveness of its existing lineup and which open the possibility to MacBook Pros and other systems using SSDs without having to sacrifice much if any capacity.
Apple is believed to be also setting up a Haifa research center that would further boost its technological presence in the country. Israel has become an important location for technology firms outside of North American and Europe, and is often known in the West for its Intel offices.
For Apple, the deal represents one of its biggest ever, eclipsing the fateful deal to buy NeXT after accounting for inflation. The company has been turning to hardware acquisitions to give it a unique edge and bought PA Semi for what would lead to the customized A4 and A5 chips in the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.