Apple has gotten big lately. Really big. So big that, last summer, it briefly became the highest valued company by market capitalization in the entire world.
It's no surprise, then, that Gartner's preliminary semiconductor market data suggests Apple was the world's top semiconductor buyer in 2011. Apple came out ahead of HP, which was top dog in 2010, and Samsung, which is still in the number-two spot.
Here are the top-five rankings excised from Gartner's full chart. The monetary figures relate to the "total silicon content in all products designed by a certain electronic equipment manufacturer." Gartner calls this number the design TAM, where TAM is short for total available market.
Gartner attributes Apple's surge to its still-growing presence in the smartphone market, booming iPad sales, and the MacBook Air, which "enabled Apple to increase semiconductor chip demand even in its PC business." Other PC vendors purportedly decreased their demand because of shrinking memory prices. (Remember, Gartner is looking at money spent, not units, so cheaper memory means lower numbers.)
|Custom-cooled Radeon R9 290X cards from Asus and XFX reviewed||31|
|Winners drawn in $1500 spring cleaning contest||15|
|Apple earnings rise; iPad shipments fall||17|
|Tiny USB 3.0 enclosure houses mSATA drives||12|
|Mini Biostar board has mobile Kabini, passive cooling||9|
|Early deal of the week: A 23.8'' IPS monitor for $135||41|
|Dual-core Haswell, desktop GeForce team up in Brix Gaming mini PC||18|
|Microsoft expected to further shorten Windows cycle||73|
|The TR Podcast 153: 4K ascendant, CodingHorror resplendent||8|