Apple has reportedly bought Israeli flash memory specialist Anobit, in a $400-500m deal for the NAND company's proprietary performance technology. Anobit is a fabless semiconductor company which apparently already counts Apple among its clients, Calcalist reports, using embedded flash controllers in devices like the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air. The acquisition would presumably give Apple greater control over high-performance solid-state memory, as the Cupertino company is expected to shift to in its MacBook Pro range over the next few years.
What makes Anobit special is its "Memory Signal Processing" (MSP) technology, a set of signal processing algorithms that, alongside various error correction and flash memory management systems, promises "a dramatic improvement" in longevity, speed and overall system cost. 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.
"MSP enables SLC (one bit-per-cell) endurance and performance with MLC (two bits-per-cell) NAND, and MLC endurance and performance with TLC (three bits-per-cell) NAND, resulting in a significant reduction in cost per-bit" Anobit
Anobit's tech is also believed to be in the Hynix flash modules supplied for the iPhone 4S, and the company recently secured a $76m investment round from companies including Intel Capital, the chip firm's venture division.
Neither Apple nor Anobit have commented publicly on the acquisition talk. However, assuming it pans out to be true, it could well be another step on the path away from Samsung reliance for Apple. The Cupertino company has been working to reduce its dependencies on its Korean rival for some time now, as the firms battle in court over patents and design IP.