Marvell Technology Could Score Major Apple Contract
Marvell is one of the only (if not the only) manufacturers of PCIe-based solid state drives. One analyst familiar with the matter told Benzinga that this means the firm is all but guaranteed to the provide the 128GB and 256GB hard drives for the 2013 MacBook Air.
The analyst, who cannot speak publicly about either company in question, said that it would not be a huge deal if Marvell did not get the contract.
"They didn't get traction with Apple last year," the analyst said. "It wouldn't move the market share needle [if they didn't get it this year]. But what I think is important is that Apple has adopted this new SSD interface technology, and it just so happens that Marvell had their solution in the market before everyone else."
Thus, if Marvell provides the SSDs for Apple it will be a big win for the firm -- but if it doesn't, the company's shares are unlikely to take a major hit.
Apple reportedly chose the new PCIe-based controllers because they provide a 2X speed bump over the previous, SATA-based iterations.
While Apple has continued to improve on the technology that is packaged within its MacBook Air, the company has reduced the price of the 13-inch model for two years in a row. In 2012 Apple announced that the larger MacBook Air would retail for $1,199. Now the notebook ships for $1,099. The 11-inch model remains at $999 but the storage space has been doubled to 128GB.
Apple has also increased the battery life to nine hours (for the 11-inch model) and 12 hours (for the 13-inch iteration). These increases were partially due to the new, power-saving chipset from Intel (NASDAQ: INTC). The chip is so efficient that it can allow users to watch up to 10 hours of iTunes videos before needing a charge.
That figure is based on Apple's internal benchmarks, however. The actual results may not be as rosy as the picture Apple paints. That said, the 2011 Air had a solid track record with high battery life, so it is not a stretch to assume that the trend will continue with the 2013 model.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ
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