NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- While Apple ( AAPL) has historically shied away from big acquisitions, CEO Steve Jobs hinted during his most recent quarterly earnings call that his firm, which is sitting on more than $50 billion in cash, could make more large-scale acquisitions going forward. Notoriously tight-lipped about many things, Apple couldn't be reached for comment on this story, although TheStreet will be listening in to hear if the company reveals any concrete M&A plans during its fiscal first-quarter earnings announcement Tuesday afternoon.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs
"Apple's revenue mix has changed dramatically in the last several years, which should demand that the company reevaluate the emphasis it puts on its patent portfolio and its overall strategic direction," said Jeff Orr, an analyst at ABI Research. Analysts are mixed about specific sectors that Apple could target. Security Security is one area that Apple could look at beefing up via acquisition, said William Stofega, an analyst with IDC who tracks the mobile sector. He noted that Apple has faced some criticism over the safety of its technology from some IT experts. Among businesses that refused to support corporate access of Apple's iPad, more than 62% cited concerns over security as the primary reason, according to a recent survey from networking firm Citrix ( CTXS). Chips Apple could also continue its strategy of buying semiconductor companies to make faster chips that use less energy for the iPod and iPad devices, said Toan Tran, an analyst at Morningstar. Apple has purchased several chip companies in the past, including P.A. Semi and Intrinsity. One chip prospect could be the U.K.-based Imagination Technologies, said Tran. Apple already holds a 9.5% stake in the company, whose chips help power smartphones and tablet devices.