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Thread: Apple Helps Wireless Devices Become Biggest Global Consumer of Semiconductors

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    MMi Staff Writer Michael Essany's Avatar
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    Default Apple Helps Wireless Devices Become Biggest Global Consumer of Semiconductors


    As MMi reported January 24th, Apple spent approximately $17 billion on semiconductors in 2011. At that rate, Apple easily became the top chip customer on the planet. But in the process, Apple also drove the semiconductor industry to new heights via the wireless device market sector.

    On Wednesday, IGS iSuppli reported that Apple's iDevice line should be widely credited with helping the wireless communications sphere topple traditional computers to lead all segments in semiconductor-related spending among the world’s biggest OEMs last year.

    This is not the first year that wireless spending has been larger than for computers, with wireless having led as recently as 2009. However, 2011 does mark the beginning of a period when the balance of semiconductor spending will shift decisively toward wireless and away from computing.
    iSuppli estimates that by the end of next year (2013), OEM wireless spending could balloon to $72.9 billion. Computers, meanwhile, will stall and stay "flat" at roughly $53 billion.

    “Among the 10 segments tracked for semiconductor spending, the biggest market share—at 24 percent—belonged to the wireless market, spurred by prodigious mobile handset and tablet sales exemplified by the runaway success of Apple’s popular offerings,” says analyst Wenlie Ye at IHS.

    “Wireless will continue to generate the most growth during the next two years," Ye adds. "A substantial portion of the segment’s increase will be due to rising tablet sales, although mobile handsets like smartphones will continue to account for the lion’s share of semiconductor segment in the wireless area.”

    Source: IHS iSuppli

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    What's arguably even more astounding is, if current trends continue, we will have doubled our expenditure on semiconductors from 2009 to 2014 or 2015 (again, if trends continue). That's 5 or 6 years folks, from $40 billion to $80 billion. That's unbelievable.

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