Sport & Auto
- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
Well, that didn't last long. Just a few weeks after Apple reiterated that it wouldn't be working with chief competitor Samsung for thin glass for use in iPhones and iPads, South Korea's ET News passed along the rumor that Apple's currently working with the South Korean tech giant once again. And so far, this doesn't look like a temporary make-up. In the words of ET News, at least, the relationship's now so strong that it's almost single-handedly responsible for turning around a recent downturn in the Korean thin glass market.
Strange bedfellows, indeed. In the early days of smartphone development, Apple and Samsung worked closely together to produce glass for the new iPhones and iPads. These days, though, Apple and Samsung are practically mortal rivals--together, they're responsible for the lion's share of smartphones on the market--and even now, as reported by Bloomberg, they're locked in a bitter clash over patents. Fearful that too many design ideas have been making their way over to Samsung as a result of the collaboration, Apple's slowly been attempting to cut itself free of its former supplier. It also goes both ways. As Wired reported in October, Samsung themselves chose to stop supplying LCD displays to Apple because of Apple's "stiffer supply-chain management structure."
Unfortunately, as Apple Insider points out, Samsung simply has too many thin glass vendors available to it for Apple to ignore it, which may be the root of this rumored new collaboration. What's more, it also appears that they're one of the few suppliers who can keep up with Apple's production demands. When Apple recently tried to ditch Samsung for Taiwan's AU Optronics, for instance, they discovered that AU couldn't keep up with Apple's schedule.
Not only do we not yet know if there's any truth to the rumor; we also don't know if it's just a quick-fix so Apple can meet the deadlines for its iPad and iPhone releases scheduled for this year. If it is, it's good news for South Korea's thin glass industry, at least: according to ET News, sales of thin glass are up 134 percent from 2011, when "the thin glass process was introduced in full force."
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.