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Showing the increasing importance of flash memory these days, Apple is said to be interested in purchasing Anobit, an Israeli company that makes specialized technology for flash memory, for somewhere between $400 million and $500 million.

If the report is true, the acquisition would give Apple a leg up when it comes to stuffing more flash storage — which is still among the most expensive bits of hardware — into its devices. Anobit has developed a controller chip that speeds up flash performance.

Such a deal makes sense for Apple, since flash memory is an essential component in the iPhone, iPod Touch, and MacBook Air (which certainly won’t be the last Mac to ship with a solid-state storage drive). The report originally appeared in the Israeli newspaper Calcalist.

Apple rarely purchases hardware companies, choosing instead to spend its massive cash reserves on software companies, as TechCrunch reports. But Anobit would certainly fit nicely with Apple’s purchase of P.A. Semi in 2008, which was instrumental in developing the company’s A4 and A5 mobile chips. The acquisition would also be Apple’s first in Israel, which has become a hotbed of innovation in the past decade.

Calcalist also speculates that the acquisition would allow Apple to double the amount of flash memory on its mobile devices. It could, for example, help the company offer a 32 gigabyte iPhone for $200 with contract, instead of $300.

As Reuters notes, Anobit supplies its products to memory companies like Hynix, which is now the main flash supplier for the iPhone 4S.

Image via iFixit

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