A new TechCrunch report claims that Apple may be purchasing the Israeli flash controller firm Anobit for up to half a billion dollars.
Founded in 2006, Anobit’s primary focus is mobile and enterprise markets. Their proprietary MSP (Memory Signal Processing) is used to circumvent the physical endurance constraints of NAND over traditional methods. Anobits customers are mostly unknown but it is widely thought MSP embedded flash controllers are used in Apple devices such as the iPhone 4S and iPad, possibly through a Hynix partnership.
Having Anobit-powered flash controllers could impart decidedly faster storage performance on Apples devices, giving them a competitive advantage. Anobit claims controller shipments have topped 20 million units, so Apple could already be using a considerably number of those. Given the legal animosity between Apple and Samsung, the Cupertino-based company could be looking to branch out into new SSD technologies without their current Samsung/Toshiba partners. Purchasing the firm could allow Apple to block its Android coalition rivals from access to a potentially important technology.
According to an earlier Anobit press release concerning their MSP2025 controller, performance of up to 666MB/s should be possible with current flash. If their Memory Signal Processing works as advertised, NAND rated at 3000PE cycles or lower should be able to last several times longer before becoming unusable. If true, Anobits IP behind the signal processing technology could give the patent holder a distinct advantage when dealing with sub-2xnm MLC NANDs significantly reduced endurance. Furthermore, 3 bit-per-cell flash used in place of MLC could have endurance greater than traditionally-controlled MLC at a greatly reduced cost-per-GB when paired with a MSP processor.