Apple Now World’s 2nd Largest MEM Chip Buyer

Thanks to the popularity of the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, Apple rose to become the world’s second largest purchaser of microelectromechanical system chips, or MEMS, in 2010. Apple’s purchases jumped past Nintendo and trail only Samsung, according to data from iSupply.

iPhone and computer chips. Mmm...Apple snaps up more MEMS chips than almost everyone else

MEMS chips are sensors that include components such as microphones, gyroscopes or accelerometers like the ones used to detect sound and motion in portable devices such as the iPhone and iPad.

“[Apple’s] purchases of consumer/cell phone MEMS sensors rose by 116.7 percent in 2010, the highest rate of any major buyer,” iSupply’s Jeremie Bouchaud said. “Apple’s purchases rose to $195 million in 2010, up from $90 million in 2009.”

Nintendo previously held the top MEMs buyer spot with US$139 million in purchases during 2009. The company dropped to third place in 2010 with an 11.5 percent decline to $123 million.

Despite Nintendo’s reduction in MEMS purchases, overall market demand is on the rise. That increase, according to iSupply, can be attributed to Apple and the popularity of devices like the iPhone.

“Apple is responsible for creating new MEMS markets for consumer electronics and cell phones far beyond its own consumption,” Mr. Bouchaud said.