Sources tell ex-WSJ reporter Jessica Lessin Apple (AAPL +0.7%) has acquired Passif Semiconductor, a chipmaker developing radios for the low-power Bluetooth LE (i.e. Bluetooth SMART) standard, which was created with embedded and wearable computing applications in mind.
Two weeks ago, the FT reported Apple is ramping its iWatch design/engineering efforts. Passif's chips are a logical fit for them.
The acquisition is noteworthy for Broadcom (BRCM +0.2%), given the company is the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/GPS combo chip supplier for the iPhone and iPad, and has been developing its own low-power Bluetooth parts.
Pac Crest recently stated there's a growing risk Apple will abandon Broadcom in favor of home-grown combo chips, given Apple's hiring activity and Texas Instruments' $315M sale of wireless connectivity IP to an unnamed OEM (believed by some to be Apple). If Apple wishes to ditch Broadcom, Passif could provide one piece to the puzzle, but only that.
Update: Apple confirms it has bought Passif.