The Calcalist reports that Apple is in advanced negotiations to pick up Israel's Anobit Technologies Ltd., to the tune of $400 million to $500 million. Anobit provides controller chips that help improve the speed and reliability of flash storage, with the company's products reportedly already used in the iPad, iPhone, and the MacBook Air; Samsung and Hynix are also said to be customers. According to The Calcalist, Apple hopes to increase the amount of storage available in its devices with the purchase. If the deal goes through, it would be Apple's first acquisition in Israel, with the report suggesting that Apple may even set up a local development center to expand Anobit's operations.

Interestingly, the article also notes that Anobit is simultaneously considering a large round of financing with an unnamed Asian flash memory manufacturer (the name of a certain Apple competitor can't help but come to mind). No matter what the resolution, one thing is for sure: even for a company with Apple's massive cash reserves, half a billion dollars is a huge chunk of change.