Apple has bought Israeli flash memory company Anobit for half a billion dollars, according to an Israeli newspaper.
Anobit specialises in technology that raises the endurance and lowers the cost of solid-state flash storage — a critical component in Apple's mobile products like the iPhone, iPod and iPad. Anobit has developed a technology called 'Memory Signal Processing' that lets it give low cost multi-level cell flash memory more of the performance and reliability characteristics of expensive single-level cell memory.
The company uses a 'fabless' model like that employed by Cambridge-based ARM: it designs the technologies and licenses the designs to a variety of customers who then outsource manufacturing of the kit.
The buy, if confirmed, may give Apple control over a technology that plays a key role in its mobile devices and may also take Anobit's technology off the table for other mobile device manufacturers.
Apple has longstanding relationship with Samsung, which manufactures the company's processors and some of its solid-state disk drives. Apple is also engaged in a number of lawsuits with Samsung over the companies' competing mobile devices.
With Anobit, Apple would have the opportunity to design its own SSDs with Anobit's efficiency-maximising technologies.