August 5, 2013
Apple Buys Passif, Could Be Used In iWatch
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Last week Apple bought the California-based Passif Semiconductor Corporation, a company which develops and builds low-power communications chips. These are then used to facilitate the exchange of information between two or more devices. Though Apple has not officially announced their latest purchase, many are expecting the company to use these communications chips in the long-rumored iWatch, a device which is said to act as a remote and portal to a pocketed iPhone.
It is also unclear how much Apple paid for Passif, but according to former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin, the iPhone maker had previously tried to pick up the company for "mid-tens-of-millions of dollars" a few years ago.
During this year's All Things D conference in May, Tim Cook acknowledged that the company has begun to use their massive hoards of cash to pick up several strategic companies. This is presumably being done to help Apple compete with rivals Google and Samsung.
In a statement to Bloomberg, an Apple spokesperson played coy, saying only that "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."
Given the amount of smoke emitting from the iWatch rumors and the emphasis Apple has recently placed on they semiconductor portion of their business, some are expecting Passif technology to end up in the upcoming wearable device.
Last month the Financial Times ran a report detailing Apple's "aggressive" hiring approach in acquiring talent as they allegedly prepare for a possible iWatch. Analysts have predicted the first new device, since Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' death, could be released sometime next year.
According to the Financial Times (FT) report, Apple is not only hiring new talent for the alleged iWatch release, they're also eager to hang on to those who have already been working on the new project. The FT claims there are currently "several dozen" employees working on the futuristic watch.
Former Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve may have joined these teams when he was hired by the Cupertino company last month. Upon announcing this hire, Apple said Deneve would be working on "special projects."
Former Apple senior vice president of technologies Bob Mansfield has also been delegated to "special projects" during his last few months with the company.
The FT report finally mentions one "senior member" of the iWatch team who allegedly considered leaving the company. Apple reportedly offered this member a hefty pay increase if they promised to stay on until the iWatch release.
In addition to hiring new talent, Apple has also been beefing up their acquisitions and patent portfolio with technologies that could be beneficial in an iWatch, particularly where a mapping application might come into play.
In March the company bought WiFiSLAM, a company which uses indoor WiFi hotspots to accurately determine a user's location. And in July they picked up crowdsourced location data company Locationary, a move which could both improve the mapping application for iOS but also the rumored iWatch.