Next-generation iPhones likely to focus on internal improvements.
Apple Tops List of Largest Semiconductor Buyers in 2010
(Ranking by Revenue in Billions of U.S. Dollars)
According to a new research report from IHS iSuppli, Apple became the world's largest semiconductor buyer among original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in 2010, leaping past HP and Samsung to comfortably grab the top spot with $17.5 billion in spending. Apple's surge has seen it rise from third place in 2009 and sixth place in 2008.
"Apple's surge to leadership in semiconductor spending in 2010 was driven by the overwhelming success of its wireless products, namely the iPhone and the iPad," said Wenlie Ye, Analyst for IHS. "These products consume enormous quantities of NAND flash memory, which is also found in the Apple iPod. Because of this, Apple in 2010 was the world's No. 1 purchaser of NAND flash."Apple's lead over second-place HP, which stood at $2.3 billion in 2010, is expected to balloon to over $7.5 billion in 2011 as Apple expands its purchases to over $22 billion while other vendors remain relatively stagnant.
The report points out the marked differences between Apple's and HP's businesses, citing data showing that 61% of Apple's semiconductor spending in 2010 was on wireless products while 82% of HPs spending was on traditional computer products. That difference in focus, combined with the exploding smartphone and tablet market, has been driving Apple's run up the charts.
Apple is also cited for its ability to create an "ecosystem" of its products, with the company's tie-ins across devices leading consumers to stick with Apple for each new computer and mobile device purchase. This contrasts with the traditional PC business that offers no such ecosystem, thus leading to considerably lower brand loyalty across the range of devices and more fragmentation in purchasing patterns.