Apple has apparently been cutting back on DRAM and NAND chip orders from Samsung and is looking to other makers to supply memory for the next iPhone model. The chips are used in the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and typically Apple needs as many as it can get for new iPhone launches.
An anonymous insider source claimed Apple is working to diversify its memory chip supplier list, according to Reuters, and has been signing deals with Toshiba, SK Hynix, and Elpida Memory.
Apple and Samsung have been fighting over mobile device patent infringement allegations in courts around the world, leading to speculation that the iOS device maker would work to cut back on its reliance for parts from Samsung. That isn't the case, however, according to the insider source.
Apple recently won a big victory in its patent infringement battle when a U.S. Federal Court jury ruled that Samsung willingly infringed on several of its patents with its smartphone designs. The jury awarded Apple over US$1 billion in damages, and Samsung is appealing the ruling.
The two companies are scheduled to appear in court again on December 6 for a hearing where Judge Lucy Koh will review the damages in the case along with Apple's request for an injunction blocking the sale of some Samsung Android-based smartphones.
Through all the legal fighting Apple has continued to use Samsung as one of its primary chip suppliers for the iPhone and iPad. For the next iPhone, expected to be introduced at Apple's September 12 media event, it looks like Samsung won't get to play as big a part as it has in previous models.
"Samsung is still in the list of initial memory chip suppliers," the source said. "But Apple orders have been trending down and Samsung is making up for the reduced order from others, notably Samsung's handset business."