The Battle for the Heart of the iPhone

From Times Online

The term ‘audio codec’ will be unfamiliar to many, and the device to which it refers will never enjoy the same iconic status as a set of white earphones. But to the millions of listeners who tune into their iPod each day, the tiny audio chip – which costs about $1 – is just as indispensable: it lets them hear the sound.

To Wolfson, the British manufacturer which makes the component for Apple, it’s also a big deal. With shipments of the music player rising to more than 21 million in the last quarter alone, supplying the part exclusively to Apple represents an enormous source of revenue.

Wolfson and several other micro-electronics manufacturers, mostly from Taiwan, are now desperately wooing Apple for the right to have their components included in its next sure-to-be hit: the iPhone, which was launched in San Fransisco last month and begins shipping in June.

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