The ongoing business saga between Apple and Samsung continues, with the Cupertino, California-based tech giant potentially on the verge of naming its rival as its new display supplier for the iPad mini 2.
Following a series of high-profile patent lawsuits between the two tech giants, speculation emerged in September last year that Apple would shift its display orders from Samsung to a number of its rivals, including Sharp, LG and Japan Display.
Apple ended up opting for AU Optronics (AUO), formed from a merger of Acer Display Technology and BenQ’s electronics division, over Japan Display, which was formed from a merger of the display panel manufacturing businesses of Sony, Hitachi, and Toshiba.
This led to Samsung Display cancelling its contract to manufacture LCD displays for Apple in October, with Apple at the time also looking at shifting from Samsung to TSMC as the manufacturer of its iPhone and iPad CPUs.
Meanwhile, in November Apple switched its smartphone battery supplier from Samsung SDI to Amparex Technology Limited (ATL), while Taiwanese chip manufacturer TSMC’s investment in new microprocessor foundries in the US led to speculation it had won a new contract to supply Apple with processors.
However, according to press reports in Korean publications Korea IT Times and ET News, while Apple is satisfied with Sharp as a supplier, AUO had failed to create a high-penetration LCD display and failed to meet supply deadlines for the iPad 2.
This has led to Apple dropping AUO as a supplier in favour of Samsung, according to supply chain sources.
“Samsung Display is known to have developed an LCD sample for iPad mini 2. The company may be able to secure more order than Sharp did, if it can stabilize production yields,” an industry source told ET News.
The news comes after Apple signed a deal with Samsung to supply it with CPUs earlier this month, following TSMC delays in developing a 14 nanometre processes.