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Apple buys low-power wireless chip designer Passif Semiconductor

Suggests greater effort to cut the power drain of wireless connectivity
Fri Aug 02 2013, 11:13
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TOYMAKER FOR THE WELL HEELED Apple has bought Passif Semiconductor, a firm that designs low-power communications chips.

Apple jumpstarted its chip design efforts by buying PA Semiconductor, which is widely credited as the driving force behind Apple's A series chips that power the iPhone and iPad devices. Now Apple has purchased the relatively obscure chip designer Passif Semiconductor to add resources to its wireless chip division.

Passif Semiconductor designs chips for wireless communications, focusing on optimising power use. Apple, like every chip designer, wants to reduce its chips' power usage, and while Apple has influenced the design of display panels only from arm's length, it can work on reducing the power used for wireless connectivity by designing its own chips.

While Passif's core competencies are clearly aligned with Apple's chip design goals, it is unlikely that technology from the newly acquired firm will appear in least a couple of iterations of Apple's A series chips, given lengthy design and validation lifecycles. However Apple's buyout of Passif will alert its rivals as to where the firm is heading.

Apple confirmed to The INQUIRER that it bought Passif. The firm said in a statement, "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."

Apple did not say how much it paid for the chip designer. µ


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