Apple became the biggest buyer of semiconductors last year, ahead of Samsung Electronics and Hewlett-Packard, according to new data from the Gartner research group (, as reported by “InfoWorld” (

Apple’s increased semiconductor spending is the result of a number of factors, the article says. The company sold more smartphones, and its tablet business was also highly successful in 2011, according to Gartner.

The success of the MacBook Air also increased Apple’s semiconductor demand, it said. Apple spent a total of US$17.3 billion on semiconductors during 2011, compared to $12.8 billion during 2010, according to Gartner’s estimates.