Apple’s history and development in Israel

Apple made its first entry into Israel in 1985; It quickly became very popular, with the Mac particularly suited for graphics, a field of local expertise.

February 26, 2015 23:17
1 minute read.

The Apple logo is pictured at its flagship retail store . (photo credit: REUTERS)

Apple was founded by the legendary Steve Jobs and his partner Steve Wozniak. The early years were difficult because financing was difficult to obtain.

Apple made its first entry into Israel in 1985. It quickly became very popular, with the Mac particularly suited for graphics, a field of local expertise. Prior to Mac’s existence, pull-down windows were not in existence. The proliferation of the Mac was limited because few Israelis were acquainted with its system.

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As local users became more expert in Mac’s uses, the number of Macs grew.

Apple was a late arrival to the Israel tech scene, buying its first company only after Tim Cook took over from Jobs in 2011. In January 2012, the company spent $390 million to acquire Anobit, a startup that was making a critical component for Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

Anobit’s 200 employees became the basis for Apple’s local R&D center, which has since expanded through recruitment and acquisitions of other Israeli startups.

Apple’s most recent Israeli acquisition came in November 2013, a $350m. purchase of PrimeSense, a maker of 3-D sensors that employs about 150 people.

Today the US company employs hundreds of Israelis working on hardware and semiconductors. Its Herzliya Pituah center is Apple’s biggest R&D unit outside of its headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Apple also launched a second R&D center at Matam Park in Haifa, which took on 100 engineers laid off from the Texas Instruments R&D center in Ra’anana.

Apple has rented some 12,500 square meters of office space in Herzliya Pituah, enough room for as many as 1,200 employees, an indication of how much Apple expects its Israeli operation to grow over the next few years. It will link up all Apple Israel people in one location.

The facilities are part of giant complex of 28,000 sq. m. being developed by the property company Gav Yam in Herzliya Pituah, a key center for Israeli hi-tech.

Apple has an option to rent space in the second phase of the project, suggesting that even bigger expansion plans could be on the way.

Apple’s Israel team has been developing Anobit’s original flash-drive memory technology to be used in smartphones, tablets and media players. In Haifa, the focus is on processors. Buoyed further by Intel’s R&D center, the city is a world center for semiconductors.

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