Looking at the graph above it really feels like Apple is taking huge leaps in growth while the rest of the industry is happy to be taking baby steps. iSuppli today says that with the help of the iPad, Apple passed Samsung and HP in 2010 to become the largest consumer of semiconductors in the world. While 2010 is relatively close still, 2011 will have Apple pulling away from the pack.
Apple in 2010 bought $17.5 billion worth of semiconductors, a 79.6 percent increase from $9.7 billion in 2009. This represented the highest rate of increase among the world’s Top 10 OEM semiconductor buyers, allowing Apple to rise up two positions to take the No. 1 rank in 2010. Apple in 2009 was the third-largest semiconductor purchaser, behind Hewlett-Packard Co. of the United States and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. of South Korea; it was sixth in 2008.
NAND Flash for iOS devices was a big contributor to Apple’s rise.
“Apple’s surge to leadership in semiconductor spending in 2010 was driven by the overwhelming success of its wireless products, namely the iPhone and the iPad,” said Wenlie Ye, Analyst for IHS. “These products consume enormous quantities of NAND flash memory, which is also found in the Apple iPod. Because of this, Apple in 2010 was the world’s No. 1 purchaser of NAND flash.”Apple is likely to continue increasing its semiconductor spending during the coming years at an above-average pace, allowing the company to extend its lead over Hewlett-Packard, Samsung and other OEMs in 2011 and beyond. In 2011 Apple’s semiconductor spending is expected to exceed that of Hewlett-Packard by $7.5 billion, up from $2.4 billion in 2010.