My friend Eliezer is such an Apple fanboy that, when he heard that Apple is planning to open a development center in Israel in Haifa, he seriously considered moving or commuting there.
While I expect Eliezer will maintain his Jerusalem residence, the news was nevertheless exciting (especially for those – me not included unfortunately – who bought Apple stock when it dipped below $80/share at the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008 – it closed at $383 today – and believe a blue and white connection will boost that price even further). For the rest of us, well: Apple in Israel – wow! And even more so: this will be Apple’s first ever development center outside the U.S.
Apple’s plans materialized earlier this week when a delegation headed by Apple VP Ed Frank, visited Israel over the weekend, touring sites like Haifa’s Scientific Industries Center (MATAM), according to Ynet.
Ynet also reported that Aharon Aharon, former head of Zoran Corporation’s R&D center, has been named the head of the new development center in Israel. The Marker added that Apple has hired a real estate company to find it a site big enough to house about 200 workers.
The move apparently is not dependent on another big Apple announcement: the acquisition of Israeli chipmaker Anobit, currently in the works for some half a billion dollars, but the two will undoubtedly play off each other. Anobit develops flash memory for smart phones, tablet computers and music players – all three of which are Apple’s hottest properties. Faster flash could help speed up Apple’s devices, which would help keep the distance between iPhones, iPads and competing Android units.
How did Apple get interested in Israel? It may have started when the company hired Haifa resident Johny Srouji in 2008. Srouji is a VP at the company involved in the chip-making field. Never hurts to have a little protexia in Cupertino.
Will a bonified Apple presence increase the adoption rate of Apple tech in the Holy Land? Judging from visits to my local Aroma café, Apple has nothing to worry about: I now see more MacBooks than Windows machines these days.
But hosting Apple’s first overseas development center certainly gives us bragging rights…that is until the next big deal in this hi-tech Holy Land is announced.