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Apple confirms purchase of flash memory company Anobit

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Apple confirmed on Tuesday its acquisition of Anobit Technologies, an Israel-based flash memory component maker, though it declined to reveal the cost of the deal.

Company spokesman Steve Dowling told Bloomberg BusinessWeek that the purchase had been made recently.

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” he added.

Reports emerged last month that Apple planned to acquire the company for as much as $500 million. A Hebrew-language newspaper claimed in late December that the deal had been finalized.

Apple is also believed to be planning a semiconductor development center in Israel, a move that could synergize well with its recent acquisition. The facility would be the first of its kind for the company, which has preferred to contain research efforts within its headquarters.




Apple already uses Anobit parts in its iOS devices and the MacBook Air, and the firm's proprietary "Memory Signal Processing" (MSP) technology reportedly attracted the Cupertino, Calif., company's interest. Anobit claims MSP can improve the reliability, performance, efficiency and endurance of flash memory.

The technology could also offer some cost benefits for Apple, as it allows less expensive types of flash memory to be used. One report claimed Apple could see savings of between 10 to 20 percent on its flash purchases as a result of the Anobit acquisition.

As sales of its iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air products have taken off, the company has become the world's biggest consumer of NAND flash memory in recent years. Sanford C. Bernstein reported earlier this month that the iPhone maker accounted for 23 percent of the world's flash memory purchases last quarter.

In the past, Apple has elected to pre-purchase its flash memory, spending billions of dollars on deals with memory chip makers. Early last year, Apple's then COO Tim Cook said the decision was an "absolutely fantastic use" of the company's cash.

Cook, who now serves as Apple's chief executive officer, went on to say that the company is constantly looking for similar strategic opportunities. Apple revealed last January that it had committed $3.9 billion to secret long-term component contracts similar to its flash pre-purchases.
post #2 of 21
"Making flash better."



MUST resist the jokes

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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post #3 of 21
I hope they can make some big jumps in NAND read/write speeds quickly.

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post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I hope they can make some big jumps in NAND read/write speeds quickly.

Isn't that the whole reason they bought this company, they are ahead of the curve in that very thing aren't they?
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Isn't that the whole reason they bought this company, they are ahead of the curve in that very thing aren't they?

For their iOS devices they are but I don't think by an excessive amount, but for their SSDs they don't seem to be, but that seems to be an issue with the SSD controller they use, going for more reliable over fastest possible.

With Apple issuing patents for Thunderbolt controllers in iOS devices and iOS NAND only writing about 20MB/s it would be nice to speed all of this up substantially. It won't be too many years before the 256GB iPad will arrive.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I hope they can make some big jumps in NAND read/write speeds quickly.

I doubt it, at least now.

MSP's strong point right now is extending the performance of short-life, higher-performance, expensive components to perform more longer-life cheaper components without the performance penalty.

This is a supply chain squeeze. Apple is getting $100 of NAND flash performance for $75 (my example for this forum). With Apple's NAND flash volume and large cash balances, they will further dictate the NAND pricing for competitors.

This isn't about winning benchmarks. This is about getting $25 worth of performance from what others would pay $20 for, on a massive, consumer-market level.

Apple is not fighting this war in a benchmark test suite laboratory. They are battling it on the supply chain front.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

I doubt it, at least now.

MSP's strong point right now is extending the performance of short-life, higher-performance, expensive components to perform more longer-life cheaper components without the performance penalty.

This is a supply chain squeeze. Apple is getting $100 of NAND flash performance for $75 (my example for this forum). With Apple's NAND flash volume and large cash balances, they will further dictate the NAND pricing for competitors.

This isn't about winning benchmarks. This is about getting $25 worth of performance from what others would pay $20 for, on a massive, consumer-market level.

Apple is not fighting this war in a benchmark test suite laboratory. They are battling it on the supply chain front.

That makes a lot sound reasoning. Thanks for the info.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

For their iOS devices they are but I don't think by an excessive amount, but for their SSDs they don't seem to be, but that seems to be an issue with the SSD controller they use, going for more reliable over fastest possible.

With Apple issuing patents for Thunderbolt controllers in iOS devices and iOS NAND only writing about 20MB/s it would be nice to speed all of this up substantially. It won't be too many years before the 256GB iPad will arrive.

Intel owns the patents for thunderbolt aka lightpeak.

No one can make an iOS device other than apple. Others have tried and they got sued and lost.

No reason to patent a feature you dont own for a device no one else can legally make
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post

Intel owns the patents for thunderbolt aka lightpeak.

No one can make an iOS device other than apple. Others have tried and they got sued and lost.

No reason to patent a feature you dont own for a device no one else can legally make

Apple disagrees with you.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Apple disagrees with you.

I repeat Intel owns the rights to light peak. You even commented in story.

Applying and granted are two different stories.

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showt...hreadid=124630
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post

I repeat Intel owns the rights to light peak. You even commented in story.

Applying and granted are two different stories.

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showt...hreadid=124630

Yes, they are different. Apply is applying, the USPTO grants. You stated "No reason to patent a feature you don't own" yet I have shown you that Apple has clearly taken steps to patent methods that involved Thunderbolt. So regardless of whether you think Apple is stupid or not to think they can get a patent granted for whatever method, they have done so so.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #12 of 21
Just because apple uses TB in a patent application doesn’t imply ownership of any sort of IP - there are tons of reasons that it could be in there - as an example for instance. Just because a patent uses another technology that is patented only applies during it’s implementation.

Even if the patent is granted it says nothing of the ownership of TB at all IMO. The patent uses TB technology but is just a new form of cable tech. And this implementation could be done with the full support of Intel.

Anyway, key in the patent is:
Quote:
the present invention, connection may also be a new type of connection

In other words, it doesn’t have to be TB.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by diddy View Post

Just because apple uses TB in a patent application doesnt imply ownership of any sort of IP - there are tons of reasons that it could be in there - as an example for instance. Just because a patent uses another technology that is patented only applies during its implementation.

Even if the patent is granted it says nothing of the ownership of TB at all IMO. The patent uses TB technology but is just a new form of cable tech. And this implementation could be done with the full support of Intel.

Anyway, key in the patent is:
In other words, it doesnt have to be TB.

And as shown repeatedly they are patenting a method that involves TB. I did not say it requires TB, I did say that Apple owns TB. I didn't even say this patent would have to be used with TB. I said involves as clearly shown by the patent filing. This is indisputable.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

And as shown repeatedly they are patenting a method that involves TB. I did not say it requires TB, I did say that Apple owns TB. I didn't even say this patent would have to be used with TB. I said involves as clearly shown by the patent filing. This is indisputable.

The the patent that you are citing isnt really a TB patent - since TB is not required nor is core part of TB - Apple is limited to patents that can use TB, but thats totally different from asserting ownership of TB itself. The patent you cite is a cable patent that uses TB. It in no way contradicts the idea that Intel owns TB - which they apparently do (Wikipedia suggests that everything is owned by Intel). TB is just one means to the end,

Thats why Apple has to mention other interfaces - it covers the possibility of Apple wanting to make such a cable, but Intel not allowing the interface. The patent would still apply.

My interpretation - Apple is patenting a cable design that would be suited to a high-speed data connection that would most likely use Thunderbolt (for obvious reasons) which they collaborated with Intel on. Thats about it. Apple doesnt make any claim of ownership of anything but the cable tech. This patent could be granted today and Intel would still own TB. Heck, Apple could be developing this with the intention of transferring it to Intel down the line if it works.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by diddy View Post

The the patent that you are citing isn’t really a TB patent - since TB is not required nor is core part of TB - Apple is limited to patents that can use TB, but thats totally different from asserting ownership of TB itself. The patent you cite is a cable patent that uses TB. It in no way contradicts the idea that Intel own’s TB - which they apparently do (Wikipedia suggests that everything is owned by Intel). TB is just one means to the end,

That’s why Apple has to mention other interfaces - it covers the possibility of Apple wanting to make such a cable, but Intel not allowing the interface. The patent would still apply.

My interpretation - Apple is patenting a cable design that would be suited to a high-speed data connection that would most likely use Thunderbolt (for obvious reasons) which they collaborated with Intel on. That’s about it. Apple doesn’t make any claim of ownership of anything but the cable tech. This patent could be granted today and Intel would still own TB. Heck, Apple could be developing this with the intention of transferring it to Intel down the line if it works.

Of course it's not a patent for TB. Read the patent description. It's quite clear, and I've stated and you state, "Apple is patenting a cable design that would be suited to a high-speed data connection that would most likely use Thunderbolt (for obvious reasons)" Why you can state that but then also claim it doesn't involve Thunderbolt in any way shape or form is beyond me.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #16 of 21
Today Apple execs were seen looking at a video of a man who goes by the name of ANAND and he had a trench coat on then flashed the camera.
An Apple man since 1977
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post #17 of 21
One must say, deals like Siri and Anobit are pretty smart. Pay little and leverage...
Great job Apple.
post #18 of 21
Sweet. Come to mama! MacBook Air 13", Core i7 Ivy Bridge (or later), 6GB RAM, 512GB fandangled new Apple-branded SSD...
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blitz1 View Post

One must say, deals like Siri and Anobit are pretty smart. Pay little and leverage...
Great job Apple.

Do we really know what their PA Semi deal has bought them? Is it how they are able to make their very specific ARM SoC/PoPs?


PS: This Anobit deal is the most expensive acquisition Apple has on record. The second largest is now buying NeXT.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Do we really know what their PA Semi deal has bought them? Is it how they are able to make their very specific ARM SoC/PoPs?

PS: This Anobit deal is the most expensive acquisition Apple has on record. The second largest is now buying NeXT.

I think it's very hard to say what exactly but I think that's generally the idea behind the PA Semi purchase. I think PA Semi was the initial foray into customising ARM, and then boosted by Intrinsity.

It looks like PA Semi was bought for core talent, and Intrinsity for fast market deployment... They're no doubt now working fairly closely in a merged team to do the A6, A7, etc.

Together, the PA Semi and Intrinsity purchase has given Apple the A4 and A5 which are really tightly tailored to the whole iOS (and no doubt Mac OS X) ecosystem.

There was some speculation that the chip design team may be split on mobile devices and laptop replacements. But I feel Apple is just going to focus on A6, A7, A8 and then clock-and-slot those chips as needed for iPod, iPad, MacBook Air etc as and when the time is right.

The Anobit deal is major. I think with all the litigation with Samsung, Apple wants to now do it's own flash storage designs and then fab it wherever needed. Again, with customising the designs to the iOS and Mac OS X ecosystem, we're going to see lower cost, power efficient, fast, reliable storage. I think 2013 will be the last year Apple will ship any laptop with a hard disk, and 2014 will be the last year they ship any desktop with a hard disk as a stock configuration. That's probably the year the Mac Pro is discontinued, if not in 2013.

My 2 cents.
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

This is a supply chain squeeze. Apple is getting $100 of NAND flash performance for $75 (my example for this forum). With Apple's NAND flash volume and large cash balances, they will further dictate the NAND pricing for competitors.

This isn't about winning benchmarks. This is about getting $25 worth of performance from what others would pay $20 for, on a massive, consumer-market level.

There may be an element of delivering a kick in the balls to a certain plagiarising Korean company:

http://ebookbrowse.com/20100817-anobit-pdf-d105854120

I doubt Apple will dictate NAND pricing though - their SSD options are far more expensive than competing options and they already use Anobit technology.

If they can hit somewhere in the region of $1-1.50 per GB with sub-20nm NAND this year, they would at least have a workable entry-level laptop range.
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