Apple’s iPhone is driving the mobile industry forward. Where Apple steps, competitors very soon follow. A decision by Apple to adopt a specific technology inside a product soon translates into a rush to secure that specific component. From SSD flash storage to touchscreens we’ve seen the followers take their place. And it seems the same for gyroscopes, movement sensors and other microelectromechanical system (MEMS) devices, where Apple’s decision to put these inside its products has driven a fast market expansion.

Apple holds the power, at least that’s how it looks when you read between the lines of the analysts: “The Apple iPhone 4 was a key milestone for the MEMS market, marking the first cell phone to use a MEMS gyroscope, and one of the first mobile handsets to use two MEMS microphones for noise suppression,” said Jeremie Bouchaud, director and principal analyst for MEMS and sensors at IHS.

“This has had an enormous ‘me-too’ impact on the rest of the cell phone industry, with a flood of companies offering MEMS-equipped handsets.”

Less than five phones made in 2010 included gyroscopes. 2011 will see more than 45 phones and tablets equipped with these. Apple’s iPhone’s over-reported ‘antenna-gate’ challenge could also drive a rush to more MEMS-type devices, this time for RF MEMS switches — I wonder if these are already on the Apple blueprints for v. 5?

Driven by the iPad, these devices are becoming de rigeur across the current vaporware that defines Apple’s me-too tablet competition. MEMS devices are also turning up in projection devices and automobiles, the report explains.

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