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Rumor: Apple manufacturers facing difficulties producing high-res screens for iPad 3

post #1 of 48
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Apple's suppliers are said to have come up against challenges in their efforts to mass produce a high-resolution Retina-like display for the iPad 3, a new report claims.

The Cupertino, Calif., company is aiming for a screen upgrade in its next-generation iPad that approaches the Retina Display quality of the iPhone, but the new display will likely face production difficulties on the way to market, a source familiar with Asia-based suppliers who have knowledge of Apple's plans told CNET.

The iPhone 4S and its predecessor sport 960 x 640 3.5-inch displays with pixel density of 326 pixels per inch, enough to make individual pixels indistinguishable to the human eye at a normal usage distance of 12 inches.

According to the publication's source, display makers LG Display and Samsung can already make a double-resolution iPad-sized display with a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536, but volume production for the displays is still in the planning stages.

"[LG and Samsung] have production plans for 2,048x1,536 displays. Starting in November. But those are only plans at this point," the source said, adding that the display should have a brightness of 550 nits.

"The challenge is making lots of them," the tipster continued. "This is a quantum leap in pixel density. This hasn't been done before."

Should the double-resolution option prove too tricky to produce in large numbers in time for the iPad 3 launch, the source said an "interim option" of 1,600 x 1,200 is waiting in the wings. Such a fix, however, would likely require a software tweak in order to accommodate the alternate resolution.

Apple's next-generation touchscreen tablet is expected to arrive early next year. Rumors of resolution doubling in the iPad 3 emerged earlier this year even before the iPad 2 was released.



According to a report by The Wall Street Journal in August, Apple's suppliers will ramp up production of the new displays throughout this quarter. Trial production of the 1.5 million iPad 3 units was said to begin sometime this month.

A high-resolution display on an iPad would serve as an impressive selling point to help drive continued breakout sales of the device, which is already dominating the tablet market. Some have suggested that Apple will market the upgraded iPad as a high-end model alongside a cheaper iPad 2.

The next-gen device is also expected to sport a quad-core A6 processor based on either Samsung's or TSMC's 28-nanometer processing technology.

Another recent rumor claimed Apple was working on a redesigned, smaller dock connector for the device.
post #2 of 48
I can't see Apple going with a 1600x1200 screen. Many older apps simply wouldn't work at such a resolution.

Better to stick with the current screen resolution and put more engineering effort into other areas.
post #3 of 48
Expect to see a better camera next time too which will support the new iCards for iPad app.
post #4 of 48
It would look A-mazing. The iPhone 4 is done in quantity so I'm sure this can be too.
post #5 of 48
My iPad 2 is not pretty enough I demand more! Actually I am very happy with the aspects of the 2 and I can't wait to see what Apple will do to make even more improvements to the 3. A nicer screen would be nice, but I am more interested to see what the A6 will bring.
post #6 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rtapps View Post

My iPad 2 is not pretty enough I demand more! Actually I am very happy with the aspects of the 2 and I can't wait to see what Apple will do to make even more improvements to the 3. A nicer screen would be nice, but I am more interested to see what the A6 will bring.

This is a pure speculative story. However, in general it is a challenge to produce such high quality, high resolution screens because of quality control issues.
My physics teacher told me a few years ago that the Apple cinema displays(old school) were expensive because so many had to be trashed once they were rejected during the inspection process.
I have the old 17 inch g4 imac with the swivel neck. That display is fu**** awesome. I'm never selling that classic.
post #7 of 48
There seems something uncomfortable about outsourcing your screen production to a competitor. Yes, Samsung get paid for the screens, but if they deliberately delayed supply by inventing false production issues, causing iPad 3 to be late, might it not be tempting to launch the Galaxy Tab 3 to take advantage -or at the very least use Apple's work as R&D for your own tablet screens?

This is a dysfunctional relationship. The sooner Apple spend some of their cash pile on their own screen factory the better.
post #8 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by joindup View Post

There seems something uncomfortable about outsourcing your screen production to a competitor. Yes, Samsung get paid for the screens, but if they deliberately delayed supply by inventing false production issues, causing iPad 3 to be late, might it not be tempting to launch the Galaxy Tab 3 to take advantage -or at the very least use Apple's work as R&D for your own tablet screens?

This is a dysfunctional relationship. The sooner Apple spend some of their cash pile on their own screen factory the better.

+1! Even though I see the thought/business practice of purchasing "best of breed" components from whom ever makes the best at the time; this is starting to get very dangerous for Apple.

Considering the litigation arguments by SameSung, the attempts to "muddy the water" with irrelevant lawsuits against Apple... and the political and media posturing against Apple within South Korea... it's becoming a nasty problem with which Tim Cook is going to have to grapple with.

TC's manufacturing plans and strategy to date have been, may I say, flawless. Looks like he'll have to revise a bit. I think this will be his toughest test: getting what he wants, without SJ playing the bad guy in negotiations. The bottleneck has been, and still is, the components and the large supply that Apple demands when they roll out product. We've seen this before with the iPhone4, iPad 2, and currently with iP4s.

Even "if" this plays to Apple's advantage marketing-wise, I'm not sure how long this can... or even should, last.

Biggest multi-billion $$$ question: can Apple build and maintain a factory for certain components, and ALWAYS be at the forefront of technological advances in the future?

PS. Shout out to all of the "fair weather Apple fans" that made statements here and elsewhere re: "...iPad2 sucks because it doesn't have a Retina display" ....Uhm.... do you see now the problem that Apple was facing?

They just plain weren't available in quantity and quality... and still aren't! Also, the A6 WILL be needed to power the beast, not to mention another step up in advanced battery-tech, software and hardware.

When it comes though... which it will... it's going to be awesome and truly unbelievable.

At that point, I believe Apple will be sticking A6's and Retina Displays in the MBA and they will take another look at the patent they own. The one where you just slide your iPad or MBA into the side of a 27" Apple display, which becomes your connection hub to everything including power, TB, and USB.
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post #9 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by joindup View Post

There seems something uncomfortable about outsourcing your screen production to a competitor. Yes, Samsung get paid for the screens, but if they deliberately delayed supply by inventing false production issues, causing iPad 3 to be late, might it not be tempting to launch the Galaxy Tab 3 to take advantage -or at the very least use Apple's work as R&D for your own tablet screens?

This is a dysfunctional relationship. The sooner Apple spend some of their cash pile on their own screen factory the better.

Agreed. I know the arguement is that by sourcing components rather than developing them yourself you can pick and choose the best available but it also leads to problems. Apple gains a competitive advantage by developing its own ARM chips. They can build better chips than anyone else and are not tied to Intel's chip release cycle. Why not extend that into other components like screens.
post #10 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by joindup View Post

There seems something uncomfortable about outsourcing your screen production to a competitor. Yes, Samsung get paid for the screens, but if they deliberately delayed supply by inventing false production issues, causing iPad 3 to be late, might it not be tempting to launch the Galaxy Tab 3 to take advantage -or at the very least use Apple's work as R&D for your own tablet screens?

This is a dysfunctional relationship. The sooner Apple spend some of their cash pile on their own screen factory the better.

This is a very sensible, intelligent comment.

Let's not forget that the iPhone's success is due in no small part to its touch screen technology. Before it came along, there were no touch screen devices. Now everyone is using them.

At the moment the screen resolution on an Amazon Kindle is around 300 dpi, which makes it very good for reading books and better than the iPad 2. The 80 dpi resolution of the iPad 1 and 2 is okay for most things, but even without the better Kindle isn't great for reading. Your eyes soon tire. I expected to use my iPad for reading much more than I do. Asking friends with iPads about this, I am not alone in regarding the present iPad screen resolution as inadequate.

In short, the iPad 3 has to offer substantially better screen quality. This requirement is right at the bleeding edge of technology. I don't think Apple will launch iPad 3 until it can achieve the desired yields on news hi res screens. If Samsung doesn't do the right thing, then Apple will have to invest in this technology itself.

The iPad 2 was meant to have a higher resolution but it wasn't ready. I'd surprised if iPad 3 was delayed for the same reason.
post #11 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by joindup View Post

There seems something uncomfortable about outsourcing your screen production to a competitor. Yes, Samsung get paid for the screens, but if they deliberately delayed supply by inventing false production issues, causing iPad 3 to be late, might it not be tempting to launch the Galaxy Tab 3 to take advantage -or at the very least use Apple's work as R&D for your own tablet screens?

This is a dysfunctional relationship. The sooner Apple spend some of their cash pile on their own screen factory the better.

I don't think so... These are different divisions within Samsung and different people have to answer for their own division's profits. Samsung's display and fabrication divisions are not going to sacrifice revenue because the very low margin consumer electronic division is having a hissy fit. We are talking about billions of dollars in revenue for Samsung.
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post #12 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

This is a very sensible, intelligent comment.

Let's not forget that the iPhone's success is due in no small part to its touch screen technology. Before it came along, there were no touch screen devices. Now everyone is using them.
.

ehh, i was touching a Palm Pilot back in 1996.....
post #13 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

The 80 dpi resolution of the iPad 1 and 2 is okay for most things, but even without the better Kindle isn't great for reading... the iPad 3 has to offer substantially better screen quality. This requirement is right at the bleeding edge of technology...

The iPad's dpi is 132, not 80. (1024pixels/7.75" or 768pixels/5.8") Doubling the screen dpi to 264, while leaning towards high end, is not bleeding edge technology. Which really makes me wonder about the validity of this report.


By the way, the newest Kindle is 175dpi, the older Kindle 2 is 167dpi.
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #14 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by s4mb4 View Post

ehh, i was touching a Palm Pilot back in 1996.....

And a Newton in 1993. And many devices before even then.

I thought the same thing, but just assumed he meant multi-touch screens.
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post #15 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post


The iPad 2 was meant to have a higher resolution but it wasn't ready. I'd surprised if iPad 3 was delayed for the same reason.

At some point, (maybe after 16 months?) they might leave the screen the same and call it the iPad 2S.

post #16 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by s4mb4 View Post

ehh, i was touching a Palm Pilot back in 1996.....

McDonalds was using touch screen tech well before the iPhone on its cash registers.
post #17 of 48
Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field is needed right now
post #18 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by joindup View Post

This is a dysfunctional relationship. The sooner Apple spend some of their cash pile on their own screen factory the better.

What's the use of Apple owning a big factory with lots of production capacity without all the Samsung engineers to actually design the components for Apple?

If Apple wanted to get into the screen business they would actually need to buy a company that knows how to make screens, or at the very least buy some IP to start from.
post #19 of 48
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post #20 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by s4mb4 View Post

ehh, i was touching a Palm Pilot back in 1996.....

Sorry, you are mistaken. You were PRESSING the Palm pilot screen (look up resistive displays).
post #21 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

What's the use of Apple owning a big factory with lots of production capacity without all the Samsung engineers to actually design the components for Apple?

If Apple wanted to get into the screen business they would actually need to buy a company that knows how to make screens, or at the very least buy some IP to start from.

Apple has a lot of engineers and I'm pretty sure they already have a display tech group within the company. However, it wouldn't take much to hire people in the field and license various technologies from other display companies as most others do.

Apple already designs their own SoC, not Samsung. Samsung just fabricates it, mostly because they already have the tools and plants to do so.

If Apple wants to invest in building their own manufacturing plants, they would just need to hire more people who know how to build and run them. They have groups within the company that deal with, battery chemistry, multi-touch digitizers, ICs, SoCs, logic board designs, etc.
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post #22 of 48
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post #23 of 48
Manufacturing challenges, cost and power consumption - given all these considerations, it would be a remarkable feat for such a screen to be released in the next year. The question will then be - what eye-catching enhancement will iPad 3 have?
post #24 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

McDonalds was using touch screen tech well before the iPhone on its cash registers.

There are different kinds of touch screens. You are referring to resistive touch screens that have been around for a long time. These measure the resistance or pressure applied at a specific spot and need to be made from a somewhat flexible plastic to work. They are also on usually pressure sensitive and not multi touch.

These screens became smaller, but would require a stylus for accuracy. These were used in Palm Pilots, Windows CE devices, etc.

Microsoft Tablet PCs in the early 2000's used a capacitive screen that required a special stylus. This allowed you to hover the stylus above the screen to move the mouse pointer and then tap the screen to click.

The iPhone was a leap forward because this was a capacitive screen that could be controlled with fingers and have a high accuracy. So yes, touch screens have existed, but not at the level that would allow seamless integration with the human and the user interface.
post #25 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by joindup View Post

There seems something uncomfortable about outsourcing your screen production to a competitor. Yes, Samsung get paid for the screens, but if they deliberately delayed supply by inventing false production issues, causing iPad 3 to be late, might it not be tempting to launch the Galaxy Tab 3 to take advantage -or at the very least use Apple's work as R&D for your own tablet screens?

This is a dysfunctional relationship. The sooner Apple spend some of their cash pile on their own screen factory the better.

I can't see Samsung doing that. Remember that LG is also a competitor. It's difficult to find a part manufacturer that is not a competitor. But they sell much, if not most of their parts to competitors. If that dried up, Samsung and LG would find half of their businesses gone along with most of their profits.
post #26 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

I don't think so... These are different divisions within Samsung and different people have to answer for their own division's profits. Samsung's display and fabrication divisions are not going to sacrifice revenue because the very low margin consumer electronic division is having a hissy fit. We are talking about billions of dollars in revenue for Samsung.

I think that's true. There have been articles and quotes that would lead one to think that some of the Samsung contacts are becoming more aware of the patent issue. Quotes like 'patents are so smooth' whatever that means to Koreans, make me think that they are starting to understand 'inventing'. I don't think their CEO gets it though. Still the same bombast out of him. It's a very different culture there, a little more macho. Then there's the 'shame' society vs our 'guilt' society. They have a hard time admitting to a mistake unless they can save face symbolically somehow, because in that society the shame is cast unto the whole 'family'. Our 'guilt' is mostly an individual feeling. (Note: this info straight out of anthropology class)

Asia will eventually come to understand intellectual property and patents as things of actual worth. Right now though, the view is more like 'we build what is regarded as the best, we do the work, turn the screws and put together. What does it matter who first drew the picture of it? We are doing the work to assemble, that is not stealing'.

I think you are right, it's a big company not all in sync yet on these matters, but progress is being made. Apple is also wisely bringing other suppliers up to speed just in case this problem of patent infringement continues.
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post #27 of 48
OK - the large majority of the article is speculation by an anonymous source about perceived difficulties around producing these screens in quantity. Lest we forget, Apple works with specific vendors, partnering with them to create higher level components under a specific contract agreement which gives Apple exclusive access to the upgraded component design for a specified length of time, after which Apple retains priority rights for a dfurther amount of time, but the vendor can release a version for other supply lines/customers. This has been covered a couple of times in these threads, so we don't need to flog it further than this.

And while some of the commenters here seem to delight in pointing out that touchscreens were around well before the iPhone and iPod touch, it should be obvious by now that reference in these fora refers to the capacitive multi-touch screen that Apple specifically designed and built for its devices. Palm Pilots were resistive stylus driven screens not capacitive touch. Pointing out something with an example of touch that is another older technology without the capacity of the real multi-touch screen is simply incorrect.

Just to speak to these continuing assertions and hopefully put them to rest, the history of touch screen technology runs like this:

Touch screen technology has been in the works since the 1960's, where it was being studied in several different academic settings for commercial use. The generally accepted "first inventor" if you will was E.A. Johnson working for Royal Radar Establishment in the UK and was a capacitive touch screen slated for use in air traffic control - he published his findings in 1968. Similar work was being done for capacitive touch pads for controlling electronic music instruments in the 60's (Fairlight, for example), and at CERN for machine controls technology.

In the US, Control Data pushed their first broader deployment to support interaction on the PLATO computer based education system, based on technology developed at the University of Illinois, and deployed in 1972. Prof. Sam Hurst at the U of Kentucky developed first an opaque simple touch sensor in '71, followed by a transparent touch screen in 1974, which became the standard for resistive touch screens. In 1983, HP produced a touch screen computer called the HP 150, which had a matrix of infrared sensors, but it was discontinued as the sensors got dirty quickly and failed to detect touch on the screen. In the 1990's of course Apple released the Newton with a resistive touch screen, which was followed by the IBM Simon, and in 1996 by the Palm Pilot - again all using resistive touch technologies limited to a single point of contact on the screen. This same technology is deployed widely at various points of sales, in machine control systems and access kiosks for public use, and increasingly in applicances, automobiles and other consumer devices.

There are a number of other technologies which allow touch interfacing, but none have attained the popularity of resistive and capacitive touch controls.

Multitouch was explored in 1982 by the U of Toronto, using a frosted glass screen and a camera which detected a finger touch on the surface using contrast and size to determine where the touch occurred and the amount of pressure applied. In 1983 Bell Labs performed a comprehensive review of current multitouch technologies, and Bill Buxton working at U of Toronto sucessfully refined the grid capacitance device. In 1991 Pierre Wellner while at Xerox published his paper of the multi-touch "Digital Desk". As early as 1991 both Jeff Han and Microsoft Research were researching using stationary forms of multitouch implemented using infrared sensitive rear camera systems for the TouchWall and Surface respectively.

While a number of developments built out on these concepts Wellner published, it was FingerWorks in 1997 and onwards that successfully modified Apple laptops with capacitive multitouch screens, bringing a very successful implementation of capacitive multitouch to these mobile computers. With the acquisition of FingerWorks by Apple in 2005, it drove commercial and consumer mobile device use as an implementation of capacitance touch control in it's early and subsequent iPhones and iPod Touches, and later in the iPad series. Apple successfully pursued patenting the unique implementation of multitouch on a handheld device from 2005 on.
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post #28 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

McDonalds was using touch screen tech well before the iPhone on its cash registers.

Ok Debbie Downer, what else do ya not understand that you can post here? what kind of person gets paid to do a job like that?
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post #29 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

I can't see Apple going with a 1600x1200 screen. Many older apps simply wouldn't work at such a resolution.

Better to stick with the current screen resolution and put more engineering effort into other areas.

I can see them using a 1600x1200 over the larger version

Frankly I think this rumor is BS. the iPhone needs the retina display to have a crisp image to offset the screen size. The iPad doesn't.

I think that someone found out they were wrong about the rumors and this claim of issues is a cya. Lg etc can't refute it because Apple would be livid that hey confirmed a detail about the next iPad. So they have to suck it up while doing why they were always going to do.

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #30 of 48
I hate to split hairs here but based on the text of the article, it seems to me that the title should read "Rumor: Apple manufacturers might face difficulties with high-res screens for iPad 3".

The article itself seems to clearly state the "rumors" are talking about problems that might happen because mass production hasn't started up yet and the manufacturers aren't sure how it will go.

Of course, that title wouldn't get the same number of clicks/links would it?

-kpluck

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post #31 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I can't see Samsung doing that. Remember that LG is also a competitor. It's difficult to find a part manufacturer that is not a competitor. But they sell much, if not most of their parts to competitors. If that dried up, Samsung and LG would find half of their businesses gone along with most of their profits.

I agree. LG (or any other manufacturer) would jump at the chance to produce a bigger portion of screens if Samsung was found to be intentionally delaying delivery.

On a separate note, while a screen of this caliber would be amazing, I think it will be at the expense of other components. As a consumer I'm torn between having something pretty and entertaining and something that could potentially be a laptop replacement (for other than email/web), which I'm expecting out of this next generation or the one after based on the rapid development of these ARM processors.

Interesting whether it's true or not!
post #32 of 48
Apple to suppliers: We're going to stay here all night until you get it working. Worked on Andy Hertzfeld

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #33 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post

Agreed. I know the arguement is that by sourcing components rather than developing them yourself you can pick and choose the best available but it also leads to problems. Apple gains a competitive advantage by developing its own ARM chips. They can build better chips than anyone else and are not tied to Intel's chip release cycle. Why not extend that into other components like screens.

Apple develops the chips, they don't build them. Key difference.
post #34 of 48
The display is one thing. The GPU that can power 4x the pixels and yet be faster than an iPad 2, plus the battery-sucking memory to store those pixels, are another thing!

I wish it would happen soon, because a retina iPad would be awesome. But I cant help fearing it's just not possible any time soonnot even next year maybe.

Performance, battery life, quality AND price for these components all have to come together for it to happen. Im not sure ANY of those are nearing being ready! (Quality sounds like the simplest one to solvethe one this article is about! And supposedly there are production problems even there.)
post #35 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

I don't think so... These are different divisions within Samsung and different people have to answer for their own division's profits. Samsung's display and fabrication divisions are not going to sacrifice revenue because the very low margin consumer electronic division is having a hissy fit. We are talking about billions of dollars in revenue for Samsung.

No. Samsung Electronics is a division of Samsung conglomerate. Apple is in a legal battle with Samsung Electronics, not with mobile / semiconductor sub-divisions. Furthermore, there aren't that many component suppliers big, reliable enough to meet Apple's demand other than LG and Samsung.
post #36 of 48
I had to return 3 iPad2s because of faulty screens. My 4th iPad still has slight light bleeding.
Cook's production line really fudged up this year on that- I hope a retina display doesn't have this problem.
post #37 of 48
samsung is just figuring out a way to supply enough retina displays for the ipad and for its own galaxy tablets...
post #38 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcallows View Post

samsung is just figuring out a way to supply enough retina displays for the ipad and for its own galaxy tablets...

Perhaps Samsung isn't all that interested in making displays for Apple?
post #39 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by tooltalk View Post

Perhaps Samsung isn't all that interested in making displays for Apple?

"Less money? SU~RE! We'll take less money from you!"

post #40 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by joindup View Post

There seems something uncomfortable about outsourcing your screen production to a competitor. Yes, Samsung get paid for the screens, but if they deliberately delayed supply by inventing false production issues, causing iPad 3 to be late, might it not be tempting to launch the Galaxy Tab 3 to take advantage -or at the very least use Apple's work as R&D for your own tablet screens?

This is a dysfunctional relationship. The sooner Apple spend some of their cash pile on their own screen factory the better.

Apple doesn't have much choice. LG/Samsung dominate technology/manufacturing in nand flash/cpus/display not only for Apple, but also for Sony (#1 Samsung's customer), Dell (#3), HP (#4), Verizon (#5) and many others. While I don't think Samsung is going to *deliberately* sabotage Apple, Apple has little to gain from this relationship - especially when they are competing for the top spot in mobile market.
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