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Samsung Said to Supply Memory Chips for Next-Generation iPhone

Samsung Electronics has inked a deal with both Apple and LG to supply advanced DRAM memory chips in next-generation iPhones and the LG G4 respectively, according to sources "familiar with the deal" for The Korea Times. The deal, rumored to be worth billions of dollars, would see Samsung produce at least half of the memory chips that Apple would need for its next-generation iPhone lineup. The report claims that Apple could ask Samsung to ramp up manufacturing of the chips if needed, with the alleged contract lasting at least a year."Under the agreement, Samsung will start providing LG Electronics with 100 percent mobile DRAM chips it needs for LG G4 smartphone, which will be unveiled in April. Also, Samsung will handle at least half of the amount that Apple needs for its new iPhone ― tentatively named iPhone 6S," an industry official who is familiar with the deal told The Korea Times.The agreement was reached just a few months after Samsung began mass production of new 20-nanometer 8-Gigabit LPDDR4 memory chips, which are said to offer more than double the density and performance compared to its 4-Gigabit LPDDR3 predecessor. The sources say that on the LG side of things, Samsung will be providing 100 percent of the chips for the company's flagship G4 smartphone, set to be unveiled in the Spring. Though Apple and Samsung have partnered in the past for manufacturing purposes, the two companies have been fierce rivals for several years. The two companies have dropped litigation against each other outside of the United States in recent months, however, and this agreement

Samsung Chosen to Supply 80 Percent of Apple's Future A-Series Chips for iOS Devices

Apple has reportedly chosen Samsung over Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) as the primary supplier for its future application processors in a deal worth billions, claims The Korea Times (Via G for Games) citing sources familiar with the deal. Starting in 2016, Samsung reportedly will supply 80 percent of Apple's supply of 14 nm application processors with TSMC supplying the remaining 20 percent. The key factor that boosted Samsung was its recent partnership with GlobalFoundries, a relationship which will enable Samsung to produce sufficient supply of processors to meet Apple's demand. "Apple has designated Samsung as the primary supplier of its next A-series chips powering iOS devices from 2016 as the alliance with GlobalFoundries (GF) enabled Samsung to cut off capacity risk," a source familiar with the deal said. During its recent conference call, Samsung confirmed that it is producing sample 14 nm chips for an unidentified customer with plans to mass produce the chips in 2015 and 2016. This latest Korean Times report claims Samsung will begin building the processors early next year in its South Korean plant with plans to expand production to the company's Austin, Texas facility and GlobalFoundries' New York factory in the coming

Apple Suppliers Said to Begin Production of 12.9-Inch Retina Display for Early 2014 'iPad Pro'

An official at an Apple display supplier in Korea has told the The Korea Times (via Unwired View) that production of a 12.9-inch Retina Display to be used in the next-generation iPad is underway, with the tablet's release set for early next year. The report states that the 12.9-inch iPad will have an improved display nearing ultra high-definition (UHD) quality, which would be significantly bigger and contain many more pixels than Apple's current 9.7-inch iPad Air. “Apple’s local first-tier display supplier is now producing a 12.9-inch Retina Display to be used in the new iPad, which will be coming out sometime early next year,” an official at a local Apple supplier in Korea told The Korea Times by telephone Tuesday. ...“The 12.9-inch iPad will have improved picture quality. As the Apple partner intends to boost its lineup for displays that have almost ultra high-definition (UHD) quality, the upcoming iPad will provide very clear quality similar to that of UHD,” said the official. Mockup of 12.9-inch iPad next to iPad Air and iPad mini Reports of a 12.9-inch iPad have surfaced occasionally throughout the past couple of months, with The Wall Street Journal reporting in July that Apple and its suppliers had begun testing screens for a 12.9-inch iPad and a larger iPhone, which followed a sketchy rumor in May that said Apple was launching an "iPad Maxi" to target the ultrabook market. Supply chain research done by NPD DisplaySearch in October also suggested that a 12.9-inch iPad is set for debut next year, though that report did not specify when exactly the tablet would be

Apple in Talks with Korea's SK Telecom for iPhone Supporting Faster LTE-Advanced Networks

The Korea Times reports (via Engadget) that Apple and South Korean carrier SK Telecom are in talks regarding a future iPhone that would support faster LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) data networks. Just last week, the carrier announced the launch of the world's first publicly accessible LTE-A network.“SK Telecom is approaching Apple to put our LTE-A technology on the upcoming iPhone 5S. We are in the middle of negotiations,” said an SK Telecom executive, requesting anonymity. [...] Because Korea has recently seen a huge demand for devices supporting high-speed networks, Apple intends to use Korea as the litmus test to gauge the marketability of LTE-A technology before making inroads into China, according to industry sources.LTE-A supports a theoretical maximum download speed of 150 Mbps, twice as fast as the LTE standard used on the iPhone 5, although real-world speeds are in general significantly slower than theoretical maximums. The report suggests that Apple could release an LTE-A iPhone "in the coming months" on the iPhone 5S, but it seems fairly unlikely that Apple would be prepared to support the standard so soon after beginning negotiations with SK Telecom, even if the company has already been working on the

More Claims of Samsung Being Cut Out of Apple's A7 Chip Development

The Korea Times reports that Samsung has been excluded from Apple's plans for its next-generation A7 system-on-a-chip expected to be released next year to power upcoming iOS devices. According to the report, Apple is moving forward with plans to shift production to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC)."Apple is sharing confidential data for its next A7 system-on-chip (SoC) with the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). TSMC has begun ordering its contractors to supply equipment to produce Apple's next processors using a finer 20-nanometer level processing technology," said an executive at one of Samsung's local partners in Korea by telephone, Wednesday.Other sources report that Samsung is hoping its own handsets can fill the gap to be left by Apple, as the firm has made significant investments in its processor production facilities, but that some lines may have to be shut down. Samsung is also seeking to increase its work producing graphics chips for NVIDIA. The report follows similar claims from Taiwanese media last week, which indicated that Apple and TSMC were pushing forward on a 20-nm A7 design for launch early next year. Last month it was reported that Apple and TSMC had taped out a design for the A7, although considerable work remains before the chip will enter production. With Apple's 20-nm A7 not expected until next year, it appears that the company's 2013 iOS device lineup will have to make use of other alternatives such as a die shrink of the current A6 chip from 32-nm to 28-nm or a more substantially reworked A6 chip. Apple could

Samsung to Cease Providing LCD Panels to Apple in 2013

The Korea Times reports that the deteriorating relationship between Apple and Samsung that has seen the two companies reducing their component supply deals is now extending to LCD panels, with Samsung reportedly ending supplies of the panels to Apple next year.The Cupertino, California-based firm has been lowering its reliance on Samsung-manufactured displays for use in its popular i-branded devices as it is leveraging its influence to source components from Samsung’s rivals attracted by better pricing. “We are unable to supply our flat-screens to Apple with huge price discounts. Samsung has already cut our portion of shipments to Apple and next year we will stop shipping displays,” said a senior Samsung source, asking not to be named, Monday.The report claims that Samsung shipped approximately 15 million LCD panels to Apple in the first half of 2012, with the pace falling to 3 million panels in the third quarter and expected to drop to 1.5 million in the fourth quarter as Apple has shifted to other suppliers. Samsung is reportedly not involved in LCD production for the "iPad mini", with LG Display and AU Optronics said to be handling component production. And with Apple reportedly cutting back on memory orders from Samsung and now designing its own A-series chips while using Samsung simply as a contract foundry, it seems clear that Apple is steadily reducing its reliance on Samsung as the two companies have continued to face off both in the marketplace and in courtrooms around the

Apple and Samsung Moving into 'Hate-Hate' Relationship

Apple and Samsung have long had a complicated relationship, with the two companies locked in numerous court battles linked to their competition in the smartphone and tablet marketplaces even as Samsung serves as Apple's largest component supplier. As tensions have continued to ride high between the two companies, there have been signs that Apple has been trying to cut back on its reliance on Samsung for component production. The Korea Times now takes a look at how the relationship between the two companies has evolved from a "love-hate" relationship to a "hate-hate" one. The report highlights Apple's move to cut Samsung out of the chip development process for the new A6 system-on-a-chip found in the iPhone 5, with Samsung simply serving as a foundry to manufacture the chip and no longer contributing its expertise to designing Apple's chips.According to industry sources, Apple has not collaborated with Samsung in the process to develop its A6 microprocessor used in its latest iPhone 5. Samsung has handled the manufacturing of the processors used in previous iPhones and believed to have contributed in their design to some degree. Apple is still relying on the Korean firm to manufacture its chips but has made it clear it will no longer use its rival's technology, according to a senior Samsung official. "Samsung's agreement with Apple is limited to manufacturing the A6 processors. Apple did all the design and we are just producing the chips on a foundry basis," he said on the sidelines of a technology fair at KINTEX in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province.With Apple having

Korean Carriers Reportedly Negotiating with Apple for 800/1800 MHz LTE Service on Next iPhone

Apple's next-generation iPhone is of course expected to support LTE connectivity in at least some markets, but given differences in LTE frequency bands around the world it is interesting to note that The Korea Times reports (via The Next Web) on comments from sources at current iPhone partners SK Telecom and KT claiming that they are currently in negotiations with Apple over LTE service for the forthcoming device."KT is in negotiation with Apple to persuade the latter to support KT’s 1.8-gigahertz frequency in Korea for the upcoming iPhone," said one senior KT executive, asking not to be identified. KT spokeswoman Kim Yoon-jeong declined to confirm. The company, which joined the race for LTE-enabled smartphones later rivals SK and LG, is trying to persuade Apple to have its new iPhone support LTE connectivity, according to KT officials. SK Telecom is also pushing for the same. Officials from the nation's biggest mobile carrier are currently in Apple headquarters in California to persuade Apple to support SK's LTE frequency for its local customers.It is unclear, however, exactly what SK Telecom and KT are attempting to achieve in their efforts to "persuade" Apple to support their LTE frequencies on the next-generation iPhone, given that the hardware capabilities of the device have long been finalized. If the hardware does support the Korean carriers' frequencies and the negotiations are simply over contractual terms, it would suggest that there could be significant expansion of international LTE compatibility for the iPhone compared to the third-generation iPad.

Anonymous Samsung Executive Claims Apple Planning to Launch Smaller iPad by End of 2012

In a report from The Korea Times (via SlashGear), an anonymous Samsung executive reveals that Apple has committed to purchase at least $9.7 billion worth of components from the company this year, with Apple's expenditures potentially reaching $11 billion depending on demand. According to the executive, growth will be driven in part by the new iPad, as well as more MacBook Air units utilizing Samsung solid-state drives and a smaller iPad.''The contract is expected to rise to $11 billion by the end of this year as Apple is planning to release a smaller iPad, probably with a 7.85-inch screen, and to sell more of its MacBook Air PCs using Samsung's faster solid state drive (SSD) storage,'' the official said. Apple CEO Tim Cook agreed with Samsung Electronics Chief Operating Officer (COO) Lee Jay-yong to use the Korean firm's components until the end of 2014 during Lee's visit to his office in Cupertino, Calif., late last year.Apple reportedly contracted for $7.8 billion in components from Samsung in 2011, with the numbers for this year revealing yet another substantial increase as Apple's device shipments continue to rise. Mockup by CiccareseDesign The report also quotes a source who claims that Samsung will be providing new PLS-based LCDs for the smaller iPad, while Apple has also expressed interest in OLED technology. The source claims that Apple would like to use OLED and that Samsung is committed to bringing the technology to iOS devices, but that Apple does not currently see a way for Samsung to produce the required screens at necessary levels. Reports of a

Samsung Already Planning to Target iPhone 5 with Patent Lawsuits

Apple has yet to announce the iPhone 5, but Samsung is apparently already making plans to target it with patent lawsuits as the intellectual property dispute between the two companies continues to escalate. Word of Samsung's plans comes from a "senior executive" at the company and was reported to The Korea Times."Just after the arrival of the iPhone 5 here, Samsung plans to take Apple to court here for its violation of Samsung's wireless technology related patents," said a senior executive from Samsung Electronics, asking not to be identified. "For as long as Apple does not drop mobile telecommunications functions, it would be impossible for it to sell its i-branded products without using our patents. We will stick to a strong stance against Apple during the lingering legal fights."Samsung is stepping up its attacks on Apple's products after courts in several countries have issued injunctions barring Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab devices in those markets following complaints of intellectual property infringement from Apple. Samsung is unable to make any preemptive strikes against the iPhone 5 because Apple has yet to reveal any details on the device, meaning that Samsung has no product against which to lodge infringement claims at this time. But Samsung is clearly preparing its case based on patents it owns related to basic wireless technology, which the iPhone 5 will no doubt be using. Once the device is introduced, Samsung will be free to make its infringement claims against Apple and the iPhone 5. The report from The Korea Times also briefly cites

Apple Reportedly Still Uninterested in OLED Technology for iOS Devices and Potential Televisions

One of the most popular long-standing rumors regarding Apple's future product plans has centered around television sets. Several analysts have been strong proponents of the idea that Apple is working such a product, and unreliable Australian site Smarthouse reported last month that Apple had been rumored to be in discussions with LG about producing a panel for a 55-inch TV based on organic light emitting diode (OLED) technology. The Korea Times now reports (via The Next Web) that no such deal is in place.“It’s true that Apple has keen interest in TV, allowing users to stream music, videos and TV shows via iTunes, though that needs some iPhone and iPad integration, however, Apple is still pessimistic about using OLED displays,” said one source. “Because Apple is worried over higher costs and technology-related issues linking to large-sized OLED displays, it is groundless that Apple has asked LG Display to supply its OLED screens for its upcoming televisions,” added the source.Sources for the report have indicated that Apple is likely to stick with more proven LCD technologies for any such television products, and has continued to shun OLED technology even for its smaller devices. In fact, Apple has shown no signs of moving toward OLED technology even looking out several years into the future.“Apple has no interest in using OLED screens on its popular devices. The upcoming iPad 3 will also adopt picture quality-enhanced LCD screens, while the next iPhone will follow suit. Three or four more years will be needed to see OLED-embedded digital devices from Apple,”

Samsung and LG Reportedly Quality Testing 'Retina' iPad Display Production for Apple

Rumors of Apple bumping the iPad up to a higher-resolution display received a new boost today with The Korea Times reporting that Apple has been working with Samsung and LG on new LCD technology to produce displays with a resolution 2048x1536, double that of the existing iPad in each dimension. The report notes that Samsung and LG are currently in the testing process for the new displays, which would push the resolution up over 260 pixels per inch, below that of the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch, but perhaps high enough for Apple to still consider it a "Retina" resolution given the somewhat further distance at which the iPad is typically viewed. By limiting the resolution increase to a doubling of the current displays, Apple will provide an easy transition for developers, whose existing content can be displayed via pixel doubling to appear naturally on the higher-resolution display until it can be upgraded to the higher resolution. A similar system was used when the iPhone and iPod touch transitioned to double-resolution displays to minimize disruption to the app ecosystem of the platform.Apple has started quality testing Samsung and LG's LCDs at one of its laboratories in China. Samsung and LG were required to produce screens with better picture quality and density, according to sources, who anticipate the testing process will be completed during the third quarter. "Apple's upcoming iPad 3 will feature an improved display to support quad extended graphics (QXGA), a display resolution of 2048×1536 pixels with a 4:3 aspect ratio to provide full high