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Apple rumored to buy flash memory company for $500 million

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
Apple is planning to spend between $400 million and $500 million to buy Anobit, an Israel-based flash memory company, according to a new report.

Citing a Hebrew-language report, TechCrunch relayed on Tuesday that Apple plans to acquire the 200-employee Israeli fabless semiconductor company that specializes in flash storage. If the deal comes to pass, it's believed to be the first acquisition for Apple with Tim Cook at the helm as CEO.

"Anobit provides flash storage solutions for enterprise and mobile markets, based on its proprietary MSP (which stands for 'Memory Signal Processing') technology," the report said. "Its solutions are designed to improve the speed, endurance and performance of flash systems while driving down the cost. Anobit's technology is comprised of signal processing algorithms that compensate for physical limitations of NAND flash, the company claims."

Apple is believed to already rely on Anobit's solutions for its flash-based products, including the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air. Of the most interest to Apple is said to be Anobit's MSP20xx embedded flash controllers for mobile devices.

Apple has used its massive cash hoard to strategically invest in components and acquire companies that will give it a leg up on the competition. In 2005, Apple inked a major flash memory deal with Samsung, allowing Apple to build products with NAND flash including the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air.



The company made a similar deal earlier this year, when Cook revealed that Apple had committed $3.9 billion to secret, long-term component contracts. Cook said the deals were a "fantastic" use of the company's cash reserves, but declined to say what components Apple had secured, citing competitive reasons.

If Tuesday's report is accurate, it would be a rare hardware-based acquisition for Apple. The company's last major buyout of a hardware company came in 2008, when Apple bought P.A. Semi for $278 million, paving the way for it to build custom ARM-based chips for the iPhone and iPad.
post #2 of 56
IMO Smart use of money by Apple.
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post #3 of 56
This would be a good move by Apple, the competition would be left in the dust.
post #4 of 56
Would be interesting to see their current license arrangements with customers and see if they have a termination clause in the case of acquisition.
post #5 of 56
Get ready for the 256 GB iPad and iPhone. You know it's coming. Perhaps not in the next version, but soon enough.

MSP is included in both Anobit’s MSP20xx embedded flash controllers for phones and tablets – which support up to 256GB of flash each – and a line of Genesis enterprise SSDs.

Anobit flash can take a pounding for 5 years

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/11/anobit_genesis/
post #6 of 56
Sounds smart. I'm sure it won't be long before Apple stops selling anything with a mechanical hard drive altogether.
post #7 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by poke View Post

Sounds smart. I'm sure it won't be long before Apple stops selling anything with a mechanical hard drive altogether.

Maybe its too soon, but i hope it happens this summer.
post #8 of 56
I wonder if AI has an vids of Lisa Brennan-Jobs talking to an Israeli analyst about this deal.
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post #9 of 56
with icloud and drop box how much local storage do you REALLY need

how many of you would buy an ipad with 256gb??

when schools order iPads they get 16gb

OK i can understand more local storage on a macbook or imac but isn't local storage
becoming obsolete (for most consumers)

i would like to see trended how much local storage people are using since the ipad came out, and over this next year as iCloud is adopted

my wife wants to migrate to an iPad, so the max i would get her is 32 probably get her a 16
i don't want to know what's the most common set up, but do people really need and use

i installed a new 500gb hd on my macbook, but now really looking close at my needs, especially they have dramatically changed since iCloud, iTunes match, and dropbox, gmail etc.
we are in changing times
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post #10 of 56
Funny how Anobit's home page says 'making flash better.' Whereas Apple is all about 'killing Flash faster,'
post #11 of 56
For some of you, the need for storage may drop. However, for others who live or work in countries with slow and/or unstable Internet access, on board storage will be needed for awhile. Additionally, moving and working on a few hundred raw format photos in the same country will also require the storage. That said, this looks like a good deal and I would readily upgrade my 64GB iPad to 128 or 256 when the time comes.
post #12 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleZilla View Post

Funny how Anobit's home page says 'making flash better.' Whereas Apple is all about 'killing Flash faster,'

I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic or not :B

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post #13 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

I wonder if AI has an vids of Lisa Brennan-Jobs talking to an Israeli analyst about this deal.

Yes?????
post #14 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleZilla View Post

Funny how Anobit's home page says 'making flash better.' Whereas Apple is all about 'killing Flash faster,'

You may be thinking of two different 'flashes'. Solid state storage that Apple is implementing and Adobe's Flash that Apple 'doesn't care for'.
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post #15 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOFEER View Post

with icloud and drop box how much local storage do you REALLY need

I have iCloud storage, Dropbox storage, Amazon cloud storage, Google cloud storage and Gobbler Cloud Storage (for pro audio).

I view cloud storage simply as extra added security. I still prefer to have most of my stuff locally.

My current iPad 2 is only 16 GB, but I've bought way more than that amount in apps, so I guess that my next iPad will have to be slightly bigger than 16 GB. And I don't even have any video or much music on my iPad.

And as iPads become more powerful, with retina displays and more powerful CPU's, GPU's etc., Apps and games will only get bigger. Even today there are games that are around 1 GB.
post #16 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleZilla View Post

Funny how Anobit's home page says 'making flash better.' Whereas Apple is all about 'killing Flash faster,'

I think that you might be confusing two different types of Flash there.
post #17 of 56
Anobit is fabless. Who is going to manufacturer this NAND for Apple?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Get ready for the 256 GB iPad and iPhone. You know it's coming. Perhaps not in the next version, but soon enough.

MSP is included in both Anobits MSP20xx embedded flash controllers for phones and tablets which support up to 256GB of flash each and a line of Genesis enterprise SSDs.

Anobit flash can take a pounding for 5 years

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/11/anobit_genesis/

I'm not so sure this about denser NAND, than it is about faster, more reliable NAND.



Quote:
Originally Posted by NOFEER View Post

with icloud and drop box how much local storage do you REALLY need

how many of you would buy an ipad with 256gb??

when schools order iPads they get 16gb

OK i can understand more local storage on a macbook or imac but isn't local storage
becoming obsolete (for most consumers)

i would like to see trended how much local storage people are using since the ipad came out, and over this next year as iCloud is adopted

my wife wants to migrate to an iPad, so the max i would get her is 32 probably get her a 16
i don't want to know what's the most common set up, but do people really need and use

i installed a new 500gb hd on my macbook, but now really looking close at my needs, especially they have dramatically changed since iCloud, iTunes match, and dropbox, gmail etc.
we are in changing times

iCloud doesn't lessen the need for local storage. So far iTM doesn't stream, but even if it did movies will continually grow as 720p becomes the standard and then 1080p becomes the standard.

I have 1TB HDD + 80GB SSD in my MBP and bought a 16GB iPad for the first two versions, but now i find I store a lot more video on ir (as AVIs) that I will be getting at least 32GB as my next purchase (as well as AT&T 3G because I lost my last one).

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post #18 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOFEER View Post

with icloud and drop box how much local storage do you REALLY need

how many of you would buy an ipad with 256gb??

when schools order iPads they get 16gb

OK i can understand more local storage on a macbook or imac but isn't local storage
becoming obsolete (for most consumers)

i would like to see trended how much local storage people are using since the ipad came out, and over this next year as iCloud is adopted

my wife wants to migrate to an iPad, so the max i would get her is 32 probably get her a 16
i don't want to know what's the most common set up, but do people really need and use

i installed a new 500gb hd on my macbook, but now really looking close at my needs, especially they have dramatically changed since iCloud, iTunes match, and dropbox, gmail etc.
we are in changing times

As long as you are within reach of hispeed wifi 16gb is probably sufficient. But this restricts your mobility. So either waiting for higher mobile network speeds (3-10 years depending where you live, or full coverage with free wifi ( 10 years - never) or going for higher memory in mobile devices.

I took the 64Gb iPad2 3G and would still buy a 128Gb version if available. (maybe I am nuts? but WTH).

post #19 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Anobit is fabless. Who is going to manufacturer this NAND for Apple?

Toshiba and Samsung?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I'm not so sure this about denser NAND, than it is about faster, more reliable NAND.

Yeah, their specialty seems to be making controllers. Controllers make a big difference in Flash memory. That's why I paid extra for an Intel SSD a while back, as theirs seemed to be more reliable than anybody else's at the time.
post #20 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Yeah, their specialty seems to be making controllers. Controllers make a big difference in Flash memory. That's why I paid extra for an Intel SSD a while back, as theirs seemed to be more reliable than anybody else's at the time.

Same boat. Went for the slightly pricer Intel 80GB MLC G2 even though I could get more capacity at less price with a faster Sandforce controller from other vendors. But the reliability just wasn't good enough for me.

It's been a couple years since I installed it and used OptiBay in my MBP and it's great. I have nary a negative complaint to make.

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post #21 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Same boat. Went for the slightly pricer Intel 80GB MLC G2 even though I could get more capacity at less price with a faster Sandforce controller from other vendors. But the reliability just wasn't good enough for me.

It's been a couple years since I installed it and used OptiBay in my MBP and it's great. I have nary a negative complaint to make.

Haha, same here. I bought an Intel 80 GB about a few years ago, and it's still working perfect. I'd been reading some horror stories about people using SSD, so I wasn't going to take any chances.

Either way, I use Time Machine which makes auto backups, so if something were to happen, it's not a big deal.
post #22 of 56
I don't understand how Apple would benefit from an outright purchase.

Since they already use the product the only benefit I see financially would be a possible decrease cost of NAND memory, but would it save them 500 million dollars. How much does their tech actually add to the NAND total cost. Or do they want to prevent competitors from using the tech and there by forcing competitors to increase their costs and/or use inferior products.

I understood the P.A. Semi purchase but I don't understand this purchase.
post #23 of 56
I purchased a 16GB iPad and I will never buy a 16GB again. At least 32GB, most likely 64GB. Apps continue to take up more and more space these days -- I currently have 4 games on my phone that take more than 1GB each (and a 5th game that is close to 1GB). I can't simply move that to the cloud. Also I've been severely limited in the amount of video that I can put onto my device. I would love to be able to load up a few movies for the kids onto the iPad when we go on a road trip, but that would mean removing most of the other content on the device.

Local storage ain't going anywhere anytime soon, IMO.
post #24 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by KBR View Post

I don't understand how Apple would benefit from an outright purchase.

Their tech seems to be better than anybody else's. Today, Apple is merely one of their customers.

Apple can deny those cutting edge controllers and future inventions to other companies if Apple owns it.
post #25 of 56
From my reading, this purchase isn't about Apple making flash memory chips. It's about them getting ahold of the flash memory controller. I would suspect they would integrate this into one of the Ax processors, possibly A7 or A8, as a way to differentiate themselves, reduce the cost of the device and reduce the chip count.
post #26 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by fisherman View Post

For some of you, the need for storage may drop. However, for others who live or work in countries with slow and/or unstable Internet access, on board storage will be needed for awhile. Additionally, moving and working on a few hundred raw format photos in the same country will also require the storage. That said, this looks like a good deal and I would readily upgrade my 64GB iPad to 128 or 256 when the time comes.

I live in that exotic foreign country of Pennsylvania, and with 1Mbps upload speeds, all cloud based storage solutions are utterly useless. Of course, I shoot photographs in RAW and 1080p video with a camcorder instead of a phone, so I'm no longer part of Apple's core demographic.
post #27 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmileyDude View Post

I currently have 4 games on my phone that take more than 1GB each (and a 5th game that is close to 1GB). I can't simply move that to the cloud.

You could just transfer them and store the ones that you don't use often on your computer. That doesn't take long. You do have a local iTunes backup of your entire iPad I'm assuming?
post #28 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Haha, same here. I bought an Intel 80 GB about a few years ago, and it's still working perfect. I'd been reading some horror stories about people using SSD, so I wasn't going to take any chances.

Either way, I use Time Machine which makes auto backups, so if something were to happen, it's not a big deal.

I do have one complaint, but's a change with OS X regarding my OptiBay setup, not with the SSD.


With Leopard and SL File Vault would encrypt your Home Folder. This was great because my Home Folder is the entire 500GB (now 1GB) HDD) sitting in the OptiBay.

As a refresher to those that don't know, you can change the location of your Home Folder in System Preferences » Users & Groups » Unlocking the window » Right-clicking on the user and choosing Adavnaced Options.

This was great for Leopard and SL, but with Lion they changed FileVault to make it "better" by encrypting the entire drive. However, since my entire drive is the 80GB SSD which excludes my Home Folder my 1TB HDD is unencrypted.

I found a workaround. I found BASH commands I could use in Terminal to manually use the FileVault encryption on other drives, the only problem was that when I go to log in the system still hasn't unlocked that 1TB HDD so it can't authenticate my login.

After a very long process of getting back into the system without erasing my content I had a theory for a workaround. I created another user that would be local to the SSD boot drive. I log into this account first which auto unlocked the 1TB HDD. Then I can immediately log out and then log back into my main account. This is a huge PITA and I submitted this as a bug to Apple.

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post #29 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I have iCloud storage, Dropbox storage, Amazon cloud storage, Google cloud storage and Gobbler Cloud Storage (for pro audio).

I view cloud storage simply as extra added security...

That sounds like a lot of fragmentation. Apple's strength is thorough integration of all components, software and hardware. Where does that leave you?
post #30 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOFEER View Post

with icloud and drop box how much local storage do you REALLY need

how many of you would buy an ipad with 256gb??

when schools order iPads they get 16gb

OK i can understand more local storage on a macbook or imac but isn't local storage
becoming obsolete (for most consumers)

i would like to see trended how much local storage people are using since the ipad came out, and over this next year as iCloud is adopted


I have the 64GB iPad1 ... it's been mostly full since day one.

I would buy a 256GB tomorrow.

I am often not in range of WiFi ... and often when I am it's too slow to stream video anyhow. It's often used for entertainment on airplanes... no connection at all there.
Keeping movies on it takes up lots of space... no, I don't NEED 720p video files on an iPad, but I also don't want to keep multiple copies of movies and sometimes they get watched at home on the big screen.

Schools buy the cheapest model they can get (even when buying desktops/workstations)... but the users in those cases don't load them up with games, nav software, and other assorted Apps... and personal photos,movies and music. They get whatever the school/corp put on it and that's it.

In short... for many (not all... maybe not even most) consumer end-users, local storage is still very desirable.
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post #31 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

With Leopard and SL File Vault would encrypt your Home Folder. This was great because my Home Folder is the entire 500GB (now 1GB) HDD) sitting in the OptiBay.

I've never encrypted any of my drives, but I wonder, what is the main advantage? Is it if somebody were to steal your machine, then they wouldn't be able to access any of your files?
post #32 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by VanFruniken View Post

That sounds like a lot of fragmentation. Apple's strength is thorough integration of all components, software and hardware. Where does that leave you?

I just have them all, because they were free to sign up for, so I figured why not? I don't really use them all. I just have them as an option if I ever need it.

I agree that it would be confusing if certain things were stored on A and other things on B and other things on C.
post #33 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOFEER View Post

with icloud and drop box how much local storage do you REALLY need

how many of you would buy an ipad with 256gb??

when schools order iPads they get 16gb

OK i can understand more local storage on a macbook or imac but isn't local storage
becoming obsolete (for most consumers)

i would like to see trended how much local storage people are using since the ipad came out, and over this next year as iCloud is adopted

my wife wants to migrate to an iPad, so the max i would get her is 32 probably get her a 16
i don't want to know what's the most common set up, but do people really need and use

i installed a new 500gb hd on my macbook, but now really looking close at my needs, especially they have dramatically changed since iCloud, iTunes match, and dropbox, gmail etc.
we are in changing times

My 64GB iPad is less than half full until I travel. Then it is largely filled up with movies, etc.

On the computing side, it sounds like you don't shoot/edit HD video. The source files will fill up terabyte drives quick and cloud storage is not a feasible solution except perhaps as an archive for the final cut. Today's smartphones, the iPod touch, and typical point-and-shoot cameras all capture 720p or 1080p HD footage, so consumers are probably using more storage than ever before.
post #34 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Their tech seems to be better than anybody else's. Today, Apple is merely one of their customers.

Apple can deny those cutting edge controllers and future inventions to other companies if Apple owns it.

Exactly.

These guys make the best controllers around. Despite it's other faults, Israel is a hotbed of technical invention.

I would guess that Apple, being one of their best customers and probably even an investor, got wind of their product pipeline and bought them out for exactly that reason. To deny the competition whatever it is they are coming out with next.
post #35 of 56
This wouldn't be their biggest acquisition yet. These days $500M is really only worth $5.
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post #36 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Get ready for the 256 GB iPad and iPhone.

This is very unfair. My Dell laptop (company PC) has only 160 GB. How can your phone have 256 GB?
post #37 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOFEER View Post

with icloud and drop box how much local storage do you REALLY need

how many of you would buy an ipad with 256gb??

when schools order iPads they get 16gb

OK i can understand more local storage on a macbook or imac but isn't local storage
becoming obsolete (for most consumers)

i would like to see trended how much local storage people are using since the ipad came out, and over this next year as iCloud is adopted

my wife wants to migrate to an iPad, so the max i would get her is 32 probably get her a 16
i don't want to know what's the most common set up, but do people really need and use

i installed a new 500gb hd on my macbook, but now really looking close at my needs, especially they have dramatically changed since iCloud, iTunes match, and dropbox, gmail etc.
we are in changing times

A lot of people would buy 256 GB. My old 64 GB iPad is completely full - and there's a lot more I'd like to keep on it. Movies take up a lot of space, for example, People who travel a lot might like to have more of their movie selection on hand without having to constantly swap. And you can't rely on iCloud when you're on a plane, for example. And when you're not near WiFi, you have to pay for the data access - which could be very expensive.

Schools? Sure 16 GB is fine. They probably aren't storing lots of movies or personal photos, so the extra size isn't needed. But just because schools don't need more storage doesn't mean that individuals don't.

You're also ignoring the fact that the same controller can also be used in MacBook Pro or MacBook Air systems. And larger, less expensive, more reliable flash would be great on portable Macs.
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post #38 of 56
thanks for your insight, their are pro level users and consumers of various levels
you are right as display increase movies are more abundant, the needs are increasing
so now i'm thinking 32 or 64 and as you say the apps will only get more sophisticated

i can see getting a standalone hd for other things but can you connect to an ipad--not as this point

so this push to make ipad "your only or first computer really does have limitations

see my wife wants an ipad, she has a macbook with 320gb but doesn't use except for itunes



thanks again
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post #39 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I've never encrypted any of my drives, but I wonder, what is the main advantage? Is it if somebody were to steal your machine, then they wouldn't be able to access any of your files?

only if you have it set to auto login. though I have not done this myself -I would expect that the encryption key is only used after an authenticated login - then again - that may be the way it was with home folder only - and with entire drive encryption the key is stored in nvram and passed to the OS during boot up - but then you would still need to login - and having auto login would largely defeat the purpose.

I am not sure how Apple does it but with Wintel systems there is a fairly easy method of getting past the whole drive encryption - provided you have complete physical control over the entire system - and liquid nitrogen and another system etc.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/c...on-methods/900

back on topic
I wonder why this is called the purchase of a hardware company if they are fabless. or what they do with 200 employees if all they are working on is flash memory controller and I/O chip design. then again I have no knowledge of that the industry standard is for any given R&D department staffing levels - just seems like that should be a dozen of so folks at Apple to cover this (based on my entirely un-informed gut reaction).
post #40 of 56
Anobit's technology is about reliability and performance.

NAND Flash is going to take over. We will still use HDD but I figure that most of the HDD arena will be 2TB and above sizes for mass storage needs at home (Media Collects etc)

What Anobit appears to do well is deliver more speed and reliability with today's flash technology. Apple would in essence be able to use fabs like Toshiba, Samsung or even Intel/Micron to create their NAND and mate them with the proper embedded controllers. The cool part is that Intel/Micron are going to be delivering 128gb NAND in a year fabbed at 20nm. This will double the current SSD sizes provided the yields don't tank.

Where Anobit tech comes is is this.

Let's say you have a board with Qty 8 NAND chips. Todays NAND technology would thusly allow for

SLC -1 Bit Per Cell

32GB (4GB chips x 8)
64GB (8GB chips x 8)
128GB (16GB chips x 8)

MLC - Two Bits Per Cell

64GB (4GB chips x 8)
128GB( 8GB chips x 8)
256GB (16GB chips x 8)

TLC - Three Bits Per Cell

96GB (4GB chips x 8)
192GB (8GB chips x 8)
384GB (16GB chips x 8)

That's just using today's tech that's readily available. Now the problem with MLC and TLC is write endurance. You can add more bits per cell but then you're writing to the same cells over and over and eventually you hit the wall. Companies like Sandforce and Intel that make controllers for SSD deliver wear leveling features so that they're not creating hot spots and wearing out cells.

With Anobit technology Apple would likely be poised to deliver larger iPads without the decrease in write endurance and performance and that's a win/win solution.
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