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Apple becomes second largest buyer of consumer/cell phone MEMS sensors in 2010

May 02, 2011 // Jean-Pierre Joosting

Apple becomes second largest buyer of consumer/cell phone MEMS sensors in 2010

Apple Inc., in 2010 rose one rank to become the world's second largest buyer of microelectromechanical system (MEMS) sensors for consumer electronics products and cell phones, as it snapped up parts for products including the iPhone 4 and iPod Touch, new IHS iSuppli research indicates.


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The companys purchases of consumer/cell phone MEMS sensors rose by 116.7 percent in 2010, the highest rate of any major buyer. Apples purchases rose to $195 million in 2010, up from $90 million in 2009, as presented in the attached table. This strong increase propelled Apple past Nintendo. Apple in 2010 also came within a hairs breadth of taking the No. 1 spot, trailing leading purchaser Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., by just $5 million.

Consumers in 2010 happily bought up Apple products including the iPhone 4, the iPad and iPod Touch, noted Jrmie Bouchaud, principal analyst for MEMS at iSuppli. Much of the appeal of these products lies in their sophisticated user interfaces, which rely heavily on MEMS sensors, specifically accelerometers, gyroscopes and microphones. This caused Apples purchasing to boom in 2010.

MEMS sensors bought by Apple last year included 3-axis gyroscopes from STMicroelectronics for the iPhone 4, iPod Touch, and toward the end of 2010the iPad 2 tablet. Apple also bought accelerometers for the above three devices as well as for the iPod nano and MacBook computer. Furthermore, the company procured bulk acoustic wave (BAW) duplexers from TriQuint Semiconductor for the iPhone and iPad 3G. Analog Devices Inc., Knowles Electronics and AAC Inc., using die from Infineon Technologies provided Apple with MEMS microphones for the iPod nano 5th Generation, iPhone 4 and Apple headsets and the iPad 2.
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