As a company Apple is pretty secretive, even more than most. You just never really know what they are up to or why. They plan very strategically and usually make deals far in advance of whatever they are developing becomes productized. Apple has roughly $60 billion dollars in cash on hand and generally speaking for a company Apple’s size that isn’t good. The reason for that is that normally if a company has that much cash on hand, basic business rules say that they are not properly allocating funds properly in order to maximize growth. For us regular people when we have lots of extra money that is a good thing, companies on the other hand aren’t supposed to have huge stockpiles of cash laying around because they should be acquiring assets and reinvesting into their business. But Apple never does anything like people expect them too. It seems Apple is up to it again, only on a much bigger scale. But for what?
Back in 2005, it arranged to purchase up to 40 percent of Samsung Electronics’ holiday NAND
flash capacity for use in it iPods. It followed that with a similar deal related to the iPhone in 2008, forcing Samsung to reduce its supply to other customers to fulfill its obligation to Apple. They also did another half-billion dollar deal with Toshiba in 2009. During its first-quarter earnings call last week, COO Tim Cook said the company had invested $3.9 billion to secure component supplies and capacity. By comparison, the deal they did with Samsung back in 2005 was only for a bit over $1 billion. He went on to say that in the past several quarters they had identified another area and come to some recent agreements for other components. He said that the previously mentioned payments consist of prepayments and capital for process equipment and tooling. He said that all the investment is in an area that they think is very strategic, but declined to elaborate on just what that area was.
That leaves us to wonder, what could these mystery components be? There are a few things like high resolution anti-glare displays (possibly LED) for use in the iPhone and iPad lines, solid-state drives to further support its Macbook line, or perhaps something that we have yet to hear about. Apple loves to change the game, maybe it’s some new revolutionary battery technology or some new scratch resistant material for the iPhone and iPad. It could be something as simple as a new mobile chip technology that will greatly enhance the performance of the iPhone and iPad lines. The truth is nobody knows just yet, but whatever it is you can bet that in the end it will prove once again that Apple is way ahead of the curve. What do you think Apple is has spent all this money on?