Firm: Apple surpasses HP as largest buyer of chips

June 8, 2011 - 3:30 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Driven by the success of the iPhone and iPad, Apple has become the world's largest buyer of chips for computers and phones.

A research firm IHS iSuppli said Wednesday that Apple bought $17.5 billion worth of chips last year, surpassing computer maker Hewlett-Packard Co. as the largest consumer. That was an increase of 80 percent from the year before, reflecting Apple's continuing sales surge.

According to iSuppli, an iPhone contains about $80 worth of chips. The chips include the central processor that acts as the brains of the device, radio chips that let it talk to cell towers and the audio chip that converts the owner's voice into a stream of data.