In a survey published last week, iSuppli placed Apple as the second largest global buyer of microelectromechanical sensors (MEMS), used massively in the construction of iOS gadgets. According to the study, the amount spent annually by the company with this component category rose to US $ 195 million in 2010, an increase of 116.7% in relation to 2009.
Among the components acquired by Apple in the sector are accelerometers, microphones and gyros (image above), the latter having been added to the family of iGadgets last year, initially with the launch of the iPhone 4 and, later, the fourth generation iPod touch and iPad 2. iSuppli pointed out that the advanced user interfaces of these devices and the iPad depend a lot on the use of sensors, not to mention the fact that they have inspired other companies to adopt them in competing products in recent years.
Apple has been making advanced use of sensors in its products since 2006, when it first implemented iSight cameras and accelerometers in MacBooks, which are part of the system for protecting internal hard drives against falls. But the use of these components exploded even after the launch of the iPhone and iPod touch, thanks to their mass production for a rapid global reach of the market.
At the top of iSuppli's ranking on microelectromechanical sensors is Samsung, which acquired more than $ 200 million in components in the category. Nintendo, LG and Sony complete the list of the top five, below Apple.