According to Nikkei, Apple is in talks with Japanese chipmaker Renesas Electronics to buy a unit of the company, Renesas SP Drivers, that makes chips for smartphone displays. Apple hopes to improve the quality of its iPhone and iPad displays through this acquisition.
Apple is in talks with Japan’s Renesas Electronics to take over a unit that designs chips for smartphone displays, whose engineering may help it improve image sharpness and battery life.
Apple has its eye on Renesas SP Drivers, a Renesas joint venture with Sharp and Taiwan’s Powerchip. Apple is said to be seeking Renesas’ entire 55% stake for an estimated 50 billion yen ($479 million).
Renesas’ chips are already used in Apple’s displays, but Apple hopes to extend its vertical integration to this area, and bring this core-technology in-house. The Japanese company currently makes a third of all the drivers and controllers used in LCDs, employs 240 people in Japan, and makes a profit of $58 million on revenues of $580 million.
Apple has followed a similar vertical integration strategy in the past for core technologies like the A-series processor, with its acquisition of PA Semi and Passif Semiconductor.
If this acquisition goes through, not only can we expect the display quality to improve, but also the battery life to increase, as the display currently accounts for 10 percent of battery usage.