Jessica Lessin, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and editor who is starting up a new technology news publication, announced today that Apple purchased Silicon Valley-based wireless chip developer Passif Semiconductor. The news was validated by an Apple spokeswoman, who noted that "Apple buys small technology companies from time to time."
What's Passif's specialty? Radios that work with Bluetooth LE, the low-energy version of the popular short-range wireless protocol that is used in health-monitoring and fitness devices that need long battery life.
Although Lessin's sources didn't say how much Apple spent for Passif, those sources did say that Apple had tried to buy the company a few years ago for "mid-tens-of-millions of dollars." As Lessin notes, that figure would presumably be higher now.
The deal could also help Apple as it tries to wean itself from relying on rival Samsung Electronics for components for future products.