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Synaptics Buys Key Apple Supplier

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the circle-of-business dept.

Businesses 38

Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes Synaptics Inc., of touchpad fame, is acquiring Renesas SP Drivers Inc, a division of Japanese chipmaker Renesas Electronics Corp. Renesas SP is the exclusive supplier of Apple's display driver chips for the iPhone. While Synaptics is a major supplier of touchscreen technology to clients such as Samsung, they have not done business with Apple for some eight years. Characterized as 'thrilled' to be back in Apple's supply chain, Synaptics CEO, Rick Bergman, is quoted as saying, '... I don't believe they do any driver chips internally so that would really be an opportunity for us.'

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Duster Blaster (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220165)

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really be an opportunity for us... (0)

Threni (635302) | about 5 months ago | (#47220281)

> I don't believe they do any driver chips internally so that would really be an
> opportunity for us.' ...to totally gouge them. "Pay up, or you're not making iPads any more"!

Re:really be an opportunity for us... (1)

Shag (3737) | about 5 months ago | (#47220417)

Of course he had to open his mouth and remind Apple of the opportunity for them to start doing driver chips in-house...

Re:really be an opportunity for us... (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 5 months ago | (#47221267)

Or just buy the company and fire him.

Re:really be an opportunity for us... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 months ago | (#47220789)

On the contrary, Apple will just start the process of making their own chips.

They've got the financials to buy the knowledge and experience they need to make their own.

Re:really be an opportunity for us... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220811)

or they'll just buy synaptics.

Re:really be an opportunity for us... (1)

Timothy Hartman (2905293) | about 5 months ago | (#47220985)

No way. Apple left them for dead when they leaked new iPods. They can kiss Apple's business goodbye very soon unless they have something important patent wise that precludes them from doing so.

Re:really be an opportunity for us... (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 5 months ago | (#47221483)

You're right, they'll just stop making devices for 10 years while they develop a new chip from scratch. Oh wait, no, you're wrong.

Re:really be an opportunity for us... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47221611)

Right... because it took them that long to ramp up designing their own CPUs... Oh wait no, they ramped that up in only a year, and are now producing a new one every year.

Re:really be an opportunity for us... (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 5 months ago | (#47222177)

Who's wrong? It took two years from Apple purchasing PA Semi to having their own CPU design in a shipping device.

But Synaptics won't be doing anything but bending over backwards to keep Apple happy. Even Samsung, who at the device level are constantly in a law-suit battle with Apple, at the chip level, Samsung plays like the good little supplier to Apple.

Re:really be an opportunity for us... (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 5 months ago | (#47223213)

That was just "a" chip and it actually sort of sucked. To be in a top of the line premium phone, you better have the world's greatest power efficiency and they'd be starting at the stone age compared to Nvidia, whoever makes A-series chips, whoever makes snapdragon CPUs, etc.

Re:really be an opportunity for us... (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 5 months ago | (#47223561)

That was just "a" chip and it actually sort of sucked. To be in a top of the line premium phone

It didn't suck. It *was* the SOC for a top of the line premium phone.

Apple better switch suppliers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220283)

I've NEVER used a Synaptic touch pad that worked worth a shit... they are all terrible... and then you have to use their shitty drivers on top of it in Windows...meh, stay away.

Re:Apple better switch suppliers... (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about 5 months ago | (#47220457)

My old HP laptop had the best touch pad I've ever come across, made by Synaptic. The beauty of it was that it had a designated area for scrolling and could be turned off completely with a button at the top. The software "driver/spyware" that came with the laptop though was shit, I agree, the touch pad worked just fine with standard drivers installed.

Re:Apple better switch suppliers... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#47220857)

My old HP laptop had the best touch pad I've ever come across, made by Synaptic. [...] the touch pad worked just fine with standard drivers installed.

The single best feature of Synaptics touchpads today is rotary scrolling. You don't have to lift your finger and put it back down, you just go in circles instead of just following the side of the touch area. They also support pinch-zoom and rotation, and none of these features work without the official driver.

Re:Apple better switch suppliers... (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about 5 months ago | (#47221273)

Hmm, I might have to look into that. The old laptop got scrapped by the repair shop (motherboard was fried, new parts unobtainable) and they sent me a new one. That touch pad sucks donkey balls (also Synaptic), but I never read the manual, just figured they did their usual thing and fucked up a good system in the name of $whatever.

Re:Apple better switch suppliers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47221621)

Heh, it's crazy reading this as a Mac user - why on earth would you want to move in uncomfortable circles, or dedicate an area of the track pad to it? Two finger scrolling is about as good as you can get - it doesn't waste track pad space, it lets you flick, and use physics to scroll very fast, and it doesn't require awkward circular motion.

Re:Apple better switch suppliers... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#47221703)

Heh, it's crazy reading this as a Mac user - why on earth would you want to move in uncomfortable circles, or dedicate an area of the track pad to it?

Are you trolling, or is this just the usual mac user cognitive dissonance employed to self-justify their overpriced purchase? Two-finger scrolling is harder than circular scrolling. I've done both. It's very easy to have your scroll interpreted as some other gesture, like pinch or rotate.

Re:Apple better switch suppliers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47224793)

I've done both. It's very easy to have your scroll interpreted as some other gesture, like pinch or rotate.

Then you're a very special snowflake, because that has literally never happened to anyone I know. The usual anti-Apple troll being the person to raise this supposed difficulty is rather suspect.

Circular scrolling, on the other hand, implies either that there's no horizontal scrolling or that there is much opportunity for confusion between panning and scrolling.

Re:Apple better switch suppliers... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#47229749)

Circular scrolling, on the other hand, implies either that there's no horizontal scrolling or that there is much opportunity for confusion between panning and scrolling.

No, it does no such thing. Unlike the mac, you have full configurability of the touchpad. You can create up to four edge scrolling zones and control their size. You can also disable rotary scrolling, if it confuses you. You can also have multiple-finger scroll/panning, if you want. So you can have the feature that you love so well on the mac with a synaptics touchpad on a PC, even though it's inferior to the other options. Get back to me when the mac touchpad has half as much configurability as Synaptics on windows, and I'll try to care what you have to say about it.

Re:Apple better switch suppliers... (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 5 months ago | (#47222033)

Two fingers is "as good as you can get on a mac". You can get proper circular scrolling which is much better on PC. Try it sometime.

Re:Apple better switch suppliers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47224173)

A Mac is a PC, you dipshit.

Re:Apple better switch suppliers... (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 5 months ago | (#47224345)

But PC is not a Mac you dumbass.

Re:Apple better switch suppliers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47228757)

Then Steve Jobs also was a dipshit with his "Mac vs PC" ads if "mac are pc".

Re:Apple better switch suppliers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47225909)

It's a matter of preference. I used to setup my trackpad for circular scrolling on Linux, but for the past year and a half I've just been using two finger scrolling and not felt like I'm missing anything.

Re:Apple better switch suppliers... (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 5 months ago | (#47225981)

You miss out once you have to scroll more than a single length of track pad. After that, you have to interrupt the action and move fingers back up to start again, when on a circular scrolling trackpad you can just curve the motion of one finger and keep on scrolling.

There's also the factor of scrolling speed, where circular scrolling across large documents is many times, possibly an order of magnitude faster.

Re:Apple better switch suppliers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47243901)

You miss out once you have to scroll more than a single length of track pad. After that, you have to interrupt the action and move fingers back up to start again, when on a circular scrolling trackpad you can just curve the motion of one finger and keep on scrolling.

There's also the factor of scrolling speed, where circular scrolling across large documents is many times, possibly an order of magnitude faster.

[Scratches head]
[Scratches head in circular motion]

[Triple-taps head]

Re:Apple better switch suppliers... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#47220461)

Apple, as it happens, does. Their iDevices and recent trackpads mostly use BCM5976 controllers. Always a good sign, for a company whose core business is capacitive touch interface sensors, that Apple would go with a part from Broadcom, the 'Well, at least they aren't Realtek...' of the world, rather than touch their stuff.

Re:Apple better switch suppliers... (1)

jandrese (485) | about 5 months ago | (#47223599)

Synaptics makes the worst touch pads, except for everybody else who makes touch pads for laptops. Synaptics is really the top of the shitheap that is PC touchpads these days.

Re:Apple better switch suppliers... (1)

The Snowman (116231) | about 5 months ago | (#47226195)

I've NEVER used a Synaptic touch pad that worked worth a shit... they are all terrible... and then you have to use their shitty drivers on top of it in Windows...meh, stay away.

In general they are VERY touchy. Typing on my laptop, not touching the touchpad, causes the mouse cursor to jump all over the place and sometimes even click. I always plug in a mouse and set the driver to disable the touchpad when a mouse is connected, which there normally is at either my home or work desk. I will even take my mouse with me to meetings just so I do not have to deal with the Synaptic touchpad.

That being said, my personal laptop is one of the better Synaptic touchpads I have used. It is not as bad as either of the cheaper work laptops I have used in the past year.

Sounds like a non story. (4, Informative)

mirix (1649853) | about 5 months ago | (#47220299)

Some company bought a division of a company that makes an IC that apple uses. Wow.

Renesas is the merger of partial-spinoffs of semiconductor divisions from NEC, Hitachi, and Mistubishi, for people that don't recognize the brand.

Re:Sounds like a non story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220723)

Hey, it's Apple, so it's news. Just imagine if Tim Cook farted. Holy shit, the headlines would go for weeks. I mean, everything that company does is interesting, right?

I mean, I know articles like this are click bait in the most extreme sense of the word. But honestly for me, I couldn't care less about the story. But watching the devout start tearing at each others throats over something so utterly pointless. Even though this article is as pointless as can be and completely neutral, you know it's going to devolve into some sort of pissing match because "android is the best, no apple is the best, well micro$oft sucks because they did that one thing 20 years ago that I wasn't even born yet but am still mad about it", etc. I imagine it's somewhat like the gladiatorial games of ancient Rome. I know I should be disgusted by it, and am at some level. But it's still entertaining as hell watching idiots fight over nothing.

I wonder if there's a way to orchestrate a fight between which is better, chocolate or vanilla.

Re:Sounds like a non story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47221201)

Hey cool - thanks for the info and yes that too is "News for Nerds!"

Re:Sounds like a non story. (0)

fermion (181285) | about 5 months ago | (#47221337)

The story here might be that Apple is going to be looking for a new supplier. This has repercussions for investor in the sector.

synaptics buying suppliers (-1, Troll)

andresfrank (3653611) | about 5 months ago | (#47220439)

Good step taken by synaptics. Bigger companies are buying smaller start ups just to make sure they remain on top. People looking for recruiting agencies in Gloucester and Bristol, here is a good one. http://recruitmentglos.co.uk/ [recruitmentglos.co.uk]

meh (1)

chrish (4714) | about 5 months ago | (#47221435)

It would be significantly better news if Synaptics had bought whoever provides the Mac laptop touch pads and/or whoever creates the drivers for those. Then Windows laptops could start having good track pads.

I wonder if that's the reason for Windows 8 being touch-focused... an end-run around the terrible track pads infesting Windows laptops.

Seriously, the hardware in my IdeaPad 500 is great, except for the horrible, horrible track pad. And the Canadian Bilingual keyboard, but that's my fault for not paying enough attention during ordering...

Re:meh (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#47222109)

I've got three laptops with touchpads, of them two have synaptics and one has alps. The alps is nothing to write home about, both synaptics are wonderful devices which are completely flush with the palm rest (a small sensory divot aside) and which have subtle texture to help you gauge your finger motion, as well as multitouch with support for rotation and zoom. I don't think that synaptics needs to buy anyone in order to put good touchpads in windows machines. They even support one, two, or three-finger tapping gestures, and it's all completely configurable in the preferences app. The weight of that app is my only complaint about synaptics, it's massive in much the same way that CCC is. However, unlike CCC, it won't cause bluescreening.

Re:meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47224227)

The driver is written by Apple and the technology for the hardware is owned by Apple, therefore you will not be seeing it in non-Apple computers until the patents expire.

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