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Apple’s growing presence in Israel geared to chip design, suggests WSJ


The WSJ is suggesting that Apple’s growing presence in Israel is focused on expanding the company’s chip design capabilities, reporting that it has hired most of the local employees of a chip design company shut down by Texas Instruments and is advertising new positions in silicon and semiconductor design.

“Apple’s Israeli acquisitions and its expanding local workforce show that the company is becoming more and more independent on the chip level, where it once had to rely on external suppliers,” said Shlomo Gradman, chairman of the Israeli Semiconductor Club.

While the report contains more speculation than hard fact, we noted yesterday that Tim Cook–who is currently visiting the country–is accompanied by Johny Srouji, whose bio on the Apple website says that he “leads all custom silicon architecture and development” …

It’s no secret that Apple’s activities in Israel to date have focused on chip design and related R&D. Its new offices in Herzliya are located close to Anobit, the NAND flash chip specialist Apple acquired back in 2011. The new offices are expected to accommodate between 600 and 1200 employees. Apple also has several hundred employees–many of them chip development specialists–at its R&D centre in Haifa.

Cook met with President Reuven Rivlin, and is also expected to meet with former President Shimon Peres during his stay in the country.

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: A10, A10X, a9, A9x, AAPL, Anobit, Apple Inc, chip, chip development, Herzliya, Israel, PrimeSense

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Ben Lovejoy

February 26th



Inside Apple’s new offices in Herzliya, Israel [Gallery]


Apple is opening up a new suite of offices inside Israel this week, with CEO Tim Cook reportedly visiting Israel in part to inaugurate the new workspace. Recent reports have indicated that the offices will hold approximately 800 employees across 180,000 square feet of space.

Today, Israel-based website GSM-Israel has published purported photos of the upcoming new Apple space in Herzliya. The construction, features, and tables are all in line with Apple’s offices in others parts of the world. A full gallery of the new offices can be viewed below.

Apple has a history of working in Israel from purchases of companies like Anobit and PrimeSense, to the construction of research and development offices. Cook has also previously met with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. During this upcoming visit, Cook will reportedly meet with former President Shimon Peres.

IMG-20150216-WA0007 IMG-20150216-WA0007-7 IMG-20150216-WA0007-6 IMG-20150216-WA0007-2 IMG-20150216-WA0007-3 IMG-20150216-WA0007-1 IMG-20150216-WA0007-5 IMG-20150216-WA0007-4 IMG-20150216-WA0007-1
Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Anobit, Apple, Benjamin Netanyahu, GSM-Israel, Herzliya, Israel, office space, offices, photos, PrimeSense, Shimon Peres, Tim Cook

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Mark Gurman

February 16th



Tim Cook reportedly headed to Israel for opening of new Apple offices


Tim Cook is scheduled to attend the opening of Apple’s latest offices in Israel early next week, according to a report from Israeli daily business newspaper Calcalist.

The report says the new offices will be located in Herzliya, Israel, and hold around 800 employees in approximately 180,000 square feet.

There is no info on what exactly the company has planned for the new facility, but Apple has run satellite offices in Israel for a few years following its acquisition of NAND flash technology provider Anobit for a reported $390 million back in 2011. Anobit’s offices are also located in Herzliya. 

The company has another research center in Haifa, Israel that it first started hiring chip experts for in 2012. Calcalist noted today that facility holds several hundred employees in addition to the new offices opening next week in Herzliya.

(Thanks Tom)

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Anobit, Apple, Calcalist, Haifa, Herzliya, Israel, offices, Tim Cook

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Jordan Kahn

February 12th



Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu meeting with Tim Cook today in Cupertino

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is traveling through the United States this week for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual conference, and he is scheduled to meet with Apple CEO Tim Cook today. The meeting plans were revealed on the Prime Minister’s Twitter account earlier this week:


The calendar also sharesthat Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with the founders of WhatsApp, who recently sold their messaging service to Facebook for $19 billion. Local press reports indicate that the meeting with Cook is occurring as scheduled, and that the men will be having lunch at Apple’s corporate offices in Cupertino, California:

Apple executives occasionally meet with the leaders of nations from the around the world. In recent months, several reports have detailed meetings between Cook and Turkish government leaders.

Even without official online or physical retail sales channels, Apple and Israel have had a strong relationship for the past few years. In early 2012, Apple acquired Israel-based chip maker Anobit, and this kickstarted Apple’s research and development efforts in the nation. Apple has multiple engineering offices in Israel, and Apple research and development executives have visited the country.

Late last year, Apple acquired Israel-based PrimeSense, a company which specializes in developing 3D gesture motion sensing hardware and software. The engineers who joined Apple from PrimeSense are working on camera hardware for future iOS devices and TV products, according to sources briefed on Apple’s plans.

Even with the already-existing relationship between Apple and Israel, the technology company and the technologically-advanced nation can work even further together. Israel is known for being the home to the creation of many technological innovations, and perhaps Cook and Netanyahu see ways for further collaboration. It is also likely that Cook and Netanyahu are discussing the prospect of official Apple Stores for Israel.

(Image via Getty Images, thanks Tom for the lead)

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: AIPAC, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Anobit, Apple, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel, Netanyahu, PrimeSense, United States

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Mark Gurman

March 5th



Report: Apple mulling $280M purchase of PrimeSense, the Israeli 3D body sensor firm behind Microsoft Kinect

A series of reports from Israeli publication Calcalist.co.il claims PrimeSense, the company behind the original Microsoft Kinect’s technology, is in acquisition talks with Apple, somewhere near a valuation in the $280-300M range.  According to the report, a delegation of PrimeSense senior executives visited Apple’s engineering offices in recent days. The purchase would bolster Apple’s living room TV interface offerings and allow Apple to add controls with body movements and hand gestures to its products.

Apple purchased Israeli Flash chip optimization company Anobit in late 2011 for $400M+, also originally reported by Calcalist. The company now functions as one of Apple’s R&D centers in country.

We’ve heard previously that Apple is working on such 3D gesture interface and may have already been licensing IP from the Israeli firm and/or its competitors. At $280M, Apple may believe it’s better to own this IP and technology rather than let others have access to it in the future.

Apple has its own patents on similar 3D technology and has been working on its own gesture-controlled OS (below).

Microsoft used the sensor technology that PrimeSense developed for its original Kinect, previously known as Project Natal, but has since replaced the technology with its own in-house technology for 3D body mapping and movement.

PrimeSense went on to work with Asus on its WAVI Xtion living room home media controller (video) and has since shrunk chips down to be used in tablets and phones (another area of  Apple interest)

PrimeSense was founded in 2005 and is a founding member of OpenNI, an industry-led non-profit organization formed to certify and promote the compatibility and interoperability of Natural Interaction (NI) devices, applications and middleware.

Update: PrimeSense has issued a denial that it is currently in talks to be bought by Apple. As we know with past history surrounding these type of matters, the company’s claims might not mean much.

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Seth Weintraub

July 16th



More on Apple’s Anobit acquisition: Team remains in Israel (for now), headed by notable chip VP

During the question-and-answer section of Apple’s blowout Q1 2012 earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook let out a widely known fact from within the company: Apple Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering Bob Mansfield is now in charge of the team that comes from Anobit, an Israel-based SSD company that Apple acquired earlier this month. Cook also said Apple is integrating Anobit’s talent into Apple’s current workflow. Cook did, however, leave out some crucial details about Anobit’s integration into Apple.

We have some of the missing details, below:

While Apple may eventually fully integrate the staff and resources of Anobit into its Cupertino headquarters, the staff is currently staying put in its current suite of offices. Anobit’s offices are now known internally as “Herzliya Pituah – A,” and Apple may even expand these offices into its rumored Israel Research and Development center.

Notably, Anobit’s top executives are said to not be leading the center in Israel, but rather Apple Vice President Johny Srouji is heading the team. Srouji, Apple’s vice president of VLSI, specializes in microprocessor design according to his LinkedIn profile. Also notable, Srouji was a senior manager at Intel’s Israel-based research and development firm in his years before working at senior levels at Apple. While, as Cook said, Mansfield is technically in charge of Anobit now, Srouji is actively leading Anobit’s staff and resources, and he is reporting to Mansfield. He is also Apple’s highest-ranking employee working out of Israel.

Apple’ Israel group talent expands beyond Srouji with the company employing a former Chief Technology Officer from Texas Instruments Etai Zaltsman as a high-level employee in its Israel offices. Something also interesting about the Anobit acquisition is that the company’s cofounder, chairperson and CEO Ehud Weinstein is apparently not going to stay with Apple. He plans to stick around initially during the transition, but he will depart soon after.

With Apple’s new talent stationed in Israel, it appears that Apple is taking a focus on processor and solid-state-drive design in a country that specializes in that technology. Srouji’s involvement in Apple’s new Israel headquarters is a major breakthrough— as with his experience in Israel-based research and development centers, Apple’s rumored interested in an Israel R&D center, and the new talent from Anobit. All put together, a true Apple R&D center in Israel may very well be what Anobit’s offices turn into.

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Mark Gurman

January 25th


Hynix, Micron turn to Taiwan following Apple’s Anobit buy

News broke earlier this week that Apple has acquired Israel-based fabless flash memory firm Anobit for as much as $400 million according to TheMarker, adding another leading chip maker to the company’s portfolio. Anobit’s NAND flash memory is already used in Apple products including the iPhone and iPad, and the firm’s technology is said to offer several advantages over that of its rivals. As DigiTimes pointed out in a recent report, the move also means Anobit’s other clients are now forced to look elsewhere as Apple becomes the exclusive owner of Anobit’s chip technology. Major players including Hynix and Micron were Anobit partners in the past, taking advantage of the company’s proprietary technology that improves the performance and lifespan of its flash memory products. Hynix, Micron and others are now reportedly looking to Taiwan-based companies including Phison Electronics and Silicon Motion Technology following the acquisition. Direct gains from Apple’s Anobit buy include the company’s technology and talent, but another advantage over rivals now emerges as a clear secondary benefit — smartphone vendors that used NAND flash memory chips made by soon-to-be former Anobit clients will no longer be able to utilize Anobit’s class-leading technology.


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Zach Epstein

December 23rd


Jobs’s passing and fear of stalled innovation prompt Apple to enter Israel, former exec says

News emerged earlier this week that Apple had acquired Israel-based fabless chip maker Anobit for as much as $500 million. Beyond the team and flash memory technology Apple will gain from the acquisition, the company reportedly plans to use the Anobit’s facilities as a research and development center. The deal is big for Apple on several levels — Anobit’s class-leading flash memory chips are already used in the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air — but one former Apple executive believes fear was among the factors that motivated Apple to enter Israel, which is heralded by many as the “second Silicon Valley.” Read on for more.

“I think Apple is now entering Israel because of the loss of Jobs,” Eric Sirkin, a former senior director at Apple, told Israeli economic newspaper TheMarker in an interview. “Apple is afraid – it must be at the front of innovation. I believe that the company is now trying to inject innovation and Israel is part of the solution.”

Sirkin was with Apple for more than seven years in the nineties, having led a team within the company’s Macintosh unit. The executive managed the group responsible for creating FireWire technology as well as the Pippin, a low-cost computer designed to extend the Mac’s reach.

The former Apple director believes the company’s move into Israel is logical not only because of the country’s reputation as a technology hub, but also because the general mentality in the technology industry there is one that encourages innovation. ”The Israeli mentality fits with Apple thinking outside the box,” Sirkin said.

Anobit designs flash memory solutions for smartphones, tablets and other devices, and the company currently has contracts with a number of leading firms including Samsung, Intel and Hynix. Anobit’s website says that its proprietary technology “significantly improves endurance, performance and cost of flash storage products and systems.”

TheMarker notes that Apple’s acquisition of Anobit closed last Friday, and the deal is valued at between $300 million and $400 million according to the paper’s sources. Israeli financial newspaper Calcalist reported earlier that Apple spent between $400 million and $500 to acquire the fabless chip maker.

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Zach Epstein

December 21st


Apple buys flash storage maker Anobit for $500 million, aims to establish R&D lab in Israel

The rumor mill has been churning on this one for the last few days, but it's now as official as it's ever apt to get: Apple has decided to splash out the $500 million to buy Israeli flash-chip outfit Anobit. The fabless designer of MLC NAND flash chips should be a good fit, given Cupertino's reliance on solid state storage technology for its iPad, iPod, iPhone and Macbook Air lines. With $84 billion in the bank, the purchase has cost the company just over half a percent of its war chest, and we're guessing it'll just barely feel the pinch when said funds are transferred over. The story was originally reported in the Calcalist financial daily newspaper, with the verified Twitter account of the Prime Minister of Israel chiming in with the following:
"Welcome to Israel, Apple Inc. on your [first] acquisition here. I'm certain that you'll benefit from the fruit of the Israeli knowledge."
Moreover, Apple's expected to open up a research and development center in the nation, marking its first outside of the USA. If history has anything to say about it, we highly doubt Apple will ever open its mouth one way or the other on this, but it'll be interesting to see what related nuggets are uncovered in the company's next quarterly filing with the SEC.

Apple buys flash storage maker Anobit for $500 million, aims to establish R&D lab in Israel originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 20 Dec 2011 20:06:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Darren Murph

December 21st


Apple Reportedly Finalizes Deal With Flash Memory Company Anobit


It seemed last week like Apple was eyeing up flash memory technology company Anobit for a potential purchase, and now word from Israeli news outlet Calcalist is that the multi-million dollar deal has been finalized.

While Anobit has already broken the news to their employees, many of the deal’s salient details are still unknown to outsiders. There’s still no word on exactly how much Apple paid in the acquisition aside from the vague “400 to 500 million” price tag mentioned last week, and 9to5mac’s sources mention that Anobit’s executive team haven’t yet been formally introduced to Apple employees.

As my colleague Robin pointed out when news of the deal first broke, Anobit’s flash memory solutions center around the company’s memory signal processing technology, which are designed to “improve the speed, endurance and performance of flash storage systems while driving down the cost.” Considering that a sizable portion of Apple’s product lines rely on solid-state flash memory, it’s a smart move from the folks at Cupertino.

Anobit’s memory solutions already appear in a handful of Apple’s product lines, with the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air being prime among them. With consumers expecting more and more from their iDevices every year, the onus is on Apple to keep up with never-ending expectations for increased memory and reliability. If the reports pan out (and I imagine we’ll get official confirmation one way or the other before long), bringing Anobit in-house means they’re taking the issue pretty seriously, especially with rumors of an all-SSD line of Macs making the rounds.

Though neither Apple nor Anobit have officially commented on the purchase, word of the deal has already worked its way to the top of the Israeli government: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (or at least his social media rep) welcomed Apple to Israel from his official Twitter account.

A thoughtful gesture, sure, but it’s still unknown whether or not the prime minister actually knows that the deal is solid, or if he’s working off the same reports as everyone else is.

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Chris Velazco

December 20th

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