Samsung Electronics and its affiliates are supplying an increasing number of components for the iPhone 6. After Samsung and Apple withdrew all patent infringement lawsuits last August, except those in the U.S., their strategic partnership seems to have deepened.
According to industry sources on Nov. 25, the iPhone 6 will feature batteries manufactured by Samsung SDI. Some raise the possibility that Samsung's TLC NAND flash will also be used in the iPhone 6.
At first, Apple discussed with Samsung about the supply of NAND flash for the iPhone 6. Due to problems with prices, Toshiba's TLC NAND flash was used in the 128GB models, and components made by SK Hynix, Toshiba, and SanDisk were used in the 64GB models.
However, as overseas IT news sites reported functional defects in the 128GB models, Apple is said to be considering whether or not to replace the TLC NAND flash made by Toshiba with Samsung's own TLC NAND flash. If Apple and Samsung strike a deal, Samsung will supply both DRAM and NAND flash to the iPhone 6.
Some in the industry speculate that the two companies are jointly developing communications chips for the next iPhone. There are also widespread rumors that they will unveil results in the latter half of next year.
Samsung was the supplier of application processors (APs) for the iPhone 5, but Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company was selected as the AP supplier for the iPhone 6. Apple is planning, however, to use Samsung's production process of 14-nm FinFETs again for the next iPhone.
In addition, Apple reportedly asked Samsung to supply APs for the Apple Watch, which is scheduled to be released early next year. The fact that the Korean tech giant is working to develop a single-chip solution that integrates Exynos and modem chips to stop Qualcomm's dominance increases the possibility of the cooperation between the two tech companies.
The growing influence of Chinese smartphone makers is cited as another reason for the strategic partnership between the two firms.
According to data compiled by market research firm Strategy Analytics, Samsung and Apple have dominated the global smartphone market over the last four years, but their combined share has fallen below 40 percent since June. In contrast, the share of Chinese handset makers has soared to 25 percent, up 12 percent from the previous year.