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back to article Hold the chips: Apple axes Samsung RAM order for iPhone 5

Apple has cut down its order of memory chips from Samsung, reducing its reliance on its smartphone rival for components, say supply chain sources cited by Reuters. The iPhone 5, widely expected to be announced next week, will feature fewer Samsung components than its predecessors, say the sources. The newswire speculated that …

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Re: Tumbleweed Moment

not forgetting Motorola.. I played with an all touchscreen unit back in 2002 which never made it to the UK or US shores.

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Re: Tumbleweed Moment

Hmm, I had a touchscreen Samsung in 1999 or 2000 - ran PalmOS. Also had every Treo phone out there.

All that said, they were in no way comparable to even a 1st gen iPhone. Apple made a HUGE leap with the touchscreen by using a highly sensitive capacitive touchscreen vs all the previous resistive touch screens, most of which required a stylus to properly use. Never mind easy to dismiss things like UI responsiveness & the tile centric interface.

I was working with Palm & Motorola around the time the iPhone came out and it had a profound effect on some people - others described it as a fad - I'm sure both camps now wish they had an iPhone like fad. There is no doubt that Apple redefined the modern phone interface, so much so that even feature & home phones are getting similar interfaces. And at the time I had a Blackberry....

As far as Apple not having engineering talent - you've got to be kidding. This is a company that built it's reputation on engineering consistently great, easy to use hardware & software and that takes very difficult, complicated engineering, much more difficult than just being first to market with some new thing. Just go look up the story about Steve Jobs obsession with power supplies to understand how deeply high-end engineering is embedded at Apple.

You may not like or use Apple products, but it's hard to deny that they have had engineering excellence and industry defining products for the last 30 years.

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Re: Tumbleweed Moment

Given that the first Iphone couldn't even run apps, I think S40 is more deserving of the title "smartphone" than Apple phones.

Yes plenty of people use smartphones for simple things. Same applies for plenty of people buying Apple phones. "Smart phone" is just a marketing term, with no objective distinction between them and "feature phones". There's no objective definition that includes the original Iphone, but not 2005 era feature phones - let alone S40 in 2012.

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Re: Tumbleweed Moment

False, I had a resistive Nokia 5800, worked fine with touch. Resistive has advantages, such as ability to be used with pen *in addition* to touch, and works when you're wearing gloves.

Even if we agreed that capacitive was overall better, the difference is minor - the advantage of touchscreen is far bigger than the additional advantage of capacitive.

If you wanted to credit Apple for being first with capacitive (which also was something inevitable, as they didn't invent it, they just happened to be first to market), big deal - that's one minor thing that Apple did first, compared to loads of things that everyone else did first.

Moreover, that's not what the OP said. He didn't say capacitive, he just said touch in general. I don't know if you have an inability to read properly, or you're just misleadingly backpedalling.

"it had a profound effect on some people"

Yes it turned people into fanatical shills.

Like you. The rest of your post is just fanatical worship. You could say the same about many other companies, including Nokia, Motorola, Palm, Samsung etc. So no, I'm not going to "look up the story", listen to what you say at all - not until I hear you praising those other companies, who have achieved just the same things.

Industry defining? Get real. One minor improvement in 5 years of phone releases does not "define" an industry - the other companies have done far more to define the phone industry, including years before Apple turned up to the party late with their dumb phone that couldn't even run apps.

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Re: Tumbleweed Moment

And wait - did you really praise Apple for releasing something slightly better than what you had *7 to 8 years* earlier? Wow.

Meanwhile, my 2012 Samsung Galaxy is miles better than a 2007 Iphone (only five years earlier, so less of a gap). Apple are obviously crap, and it's Samsung that revolutionised everything, by your logic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tumbleweed Moment

LG Prada? Wasn't that a single-touch rather than multi-touch screen?

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HTC, Prada < iPhone gen 1

Sure HTC had skinned Win Mobile with TouchFlow, and Prada did much the same thing with a custom OS and some icons. But these phones basically sucked, as anyone that has owned one would admit. And YES, I have one of the first 100 HTC Touch gen. 1s sold in the UK sitting in my drawer, and my then gf owned the Prada. Compared to even the first gen iPhone, they were very, very weak products. The HTC worked OK...up until you needed to dive into actual Win Mobile setting menus, when all the icons went away and you needed a stylus or really, really small fingers to manipulate the _cascading menus straight out of desktop Windows_!!! Or try to actually enter text on the screen, which had a pretty difficult keyboard. So perhaps YOU had better learn what you are talking about, by say, actually using the products who's names you drop....because they really didn't cut it. After owning a Touch, I was blown away by simply how much better the hated iPhone was...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tumbleweed Moment

NO Apple just dragged everyone forward 5+ years.

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FAIL

Re: Tumbleweed Moment

"Androids generally were selling 4 units to every single Apple one"

And that has nothing to do with the fact that there are more (many more) than 4 times as many Android phones on the market than there are Apple phones, many of which cost <£200, and lots even <£100.

I'm sure that has nothing to do with it at all.

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Re: Tumbleweed Moment

I'm an iPhone fan and I think Apple was the first to do it right, but Nokia had all sorts of weird and wonderful designs years before the iPhone. I remember an IEE (now IET) magazine cover with a Nokia WITH NO BUTTONS! This was when 3 lines of text on a low contrast screen was common. I wanted to get a Sony Ericsson P1 long before the iPhone appeared (friend had a couple of SE Symbiams, thought they were OK, he's now on an iPhone 4)

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Samsung must have enough memory patents

That a portion of that money spent elsewhere still comes back to them, anyway, through licensing

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Samsung must have enough memory patents

So you reckon they would rather make pennies or sell the actual item for much more...? It's not as if Samsung invented memory so chances are they are also having to pay for patents.

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Anonymous Coward

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. You p*ss off your largest customer and lose a huge order, you lose a big judgement in the US courts, Nokia and Microsoft announce their new OS / phones... not a great few weeks Sammy.

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Anonymous Coward

Not that bad

They lost the judgement but the appeal is still on the books and as for Nokia and MS, not exactly a threat since there was a share drop in both after announcing the new WinPh 8, so already the market doesn't look good for those 2.

Don't forget all the other products Samsung produce as well, they are still cutting edge on their TV technology and to the best of my knowledge they have a stable income from things like white goods (e.g. fridges etc).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not that bad

A drop in Nokia's share price does not automatically mean Nokia will fail and Windows Phone is a non-starter you know.

Samsung are just another Android phone maker - HTC or 'many' others could produce the same handset with the same OS and the same crumby extensions. There is little brand loyalty - if anything you are buying a decent Android handset but if Amazon came out with a similar / cheaper / better one... you would buy that.

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Anonymous Coward

That's until the court case gets upturned and Samsung don't get any devices banned and their fines reduced!

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Re: Not that bad

In the laughably unlikely situation that Nokia/MS can make Windows phones appeal to Joe Public, then Samsung will just sell Windows phones. Samsung are one company that Microsoft have traditionally been very nice too, M$ have been courting them for years.

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Anonymous Coward

Then you woke up. On appeal the fine could go UP.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not that bad

Samsung are also just another WinPh8 manufacturer, they also have their own OS on the back burner, if anything they are smart cookies for hedging their bets in a number of different directions from a long term strategic perspective.

And yes a share drop CAN have implications for both firms, more so for Nokia as their balance books are not great. If shares for them dip too much MS might loose confidence and could drop them like a hot stone and look at their other hardware manufacturing partners which ultimately filters down to the consumer as brand confusion. When it comes to big corp finances small stones can cause big far reaching ripples.

I'm not saying that's a certainty but it would be a mistake to overlook or discount it as nothing.

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Samsung should be more shifty

as in shifting something a few nanometers. Will pass all production and Apples acceptance tests and work a year or so before electromigration kicks in.

Or they should just appeal - that should do the job.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Samsung should be more shifty

... and genius when Apple find out the parts are defective or better yet someone grasses them up / they find out they were purposely defective Samsung could face damages that make their most recent 'fine' look like chicken feed plus it would permanently damage their reputation.

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FAIL

Re: Samsung should be more shifty

You've not heard of product liability? If they did that then Samsung would have to foot the bill, plus pay damages. Go look up nVidia and Bumpgate on Google sometime.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Samsung should be more shifty

State-of-the-art chip geometries are around 18-20nm right now, and it would be near impossible to change the metal-mask enough to create long-term failures without causing an immediate and noticeable decrease in yields due to manufacturing variability.

Now, if Samsung were to zap a few pins with just the right amount of static electricity, they might be able to cause a long-term problem. Of course ESD damage can be seen under a microscope, so Samsung would still have a problem when Apple performed their root-cause investigation.

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Comments on every Apple or Samsung story.....

WHARRGARBL I HATE APPLE AND AM ANGRY AS HELL FOR SOME REASON

or

WHARRGARBL I HATE ANDROID/SAMSUND AND AM ANGRY AS HELL FOR SOME REASON

Delete as applicable

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Comments on every Apple or Samsung story.....

"Delete as applicable"

I can't delete your message you'll have to do it

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Boffin

Re: Comments on every Apple or Samsung story.....

So appropriate.

I choose what I'm happy with.

If my friends/acquaintances & colleagues differ - well, that's their affair. I don't vilify them, cast doubts on their manhood/maturity/intelligence or anything. If they're happy, then fine.

I would like to not be painted as a complete moron (usually BY a complete moron) just for my preferences.

à chacun son goût

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Hynix. Never mind the quality stuff.

Whatever next,

Are Apple to declare that their products are now so good they will offer a zero day warranty.?

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Anonymous Coward

Samsung just manufacture the CPUs - it's an ARM / Apple design so next to go is probably get 'someone else' to make the CPUs. So Samsung may lose all the Apple business and don't say they don't care as anyone would care about losing the worlds largest electronics company as a customer...

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Anonymous Coward

While it is true that Apple can move their CPU design to another chip foundry, there are not many that can implement the geometries Apple's design uses in the volumes that Apple needs. I read a trade article last week stating that Apple wanted a dedicated line at one of these other foundries, and the foundry refused.

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TMSC, IBM and Global Foundry

Share a lot of their process technology with Samsung. It's not as hard as you think to switch to an alternate fab.

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AC @ 14:28

"losing the worlds largest electronics company as a customer"

What? Samsung losing Samsung?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsung_Group

Electronics are just a subsidiary!

I've got a Samsung TV, Samsung Blu-ray & a Samsung camera, my nipper has a Samsung phone & Samsung tablet, the missus has a Samsung vacuum cleaner & even a Samsung bloody toaster.

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Re: TMSC, IBM and Global Foundry

| It's not as hard as you think to switch to an alternate fab.

Sure, if all you want is a sample run to verify your design. If you want someone who can do production runs with guaranteed quality and output levels, it's a bit more challenging. I doubt any of the manufacturers you listed have enough excess capacity on the required process to absorb Apple's demand.

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Re: AC @ 14:28

I guess you missed it:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/benzingainsights/2012/08/21/apple-now-most-valuable-company-in-history/

Apple Mkt Cap $620b

Samsung Mkt Cap $162b

Game over.

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Re: AC @ 14:28

That's shareholder valuation, which only an idiot would count as "largest".

Yet another case of hand-picked statistic to make Apple look best. Who was most valuable before Apple, and how come we never heard about that? Once again, a stat is only news if it makes Apple look good, which suggests that actually, no one cares about the statistic. (And it's hardly surprising that Apple will do better on "valued" - no shortage of Apple fanatics to buy as many shares as possible. Apple are also the most hyped and shilled company in history, but sorry, I don't consider that anything to be proud about.)

Samsung are way bigger by any sensible measure that's relevant to consumers - e.g., sales. Shares only matter if you're a shareholder, and if you are, you're a shill.

Game over.

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Re: AC @ 14:28

Plus if they were the largest, can the media and fans please stop talking about Apple as if they were some small startup? "Ooh, isn't it amazing that the largest company can, with tonnes of free media hype, sell a few million of a product. Let's praise Apple endlessly for that. Never mind that every other multinational routinely sells millions even with no free hype. Apple obviously deserve special credit, because they manage to do that whilst only being the world's largest company."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AC @ 14:28

"Samsung are way bigger by any sensible measure that's relevant to consumers - e.g., sales."

But revenue from those 'sales' is lower. I say 'sales' as Samsung have a habit of only reporting shipped numbers, which are very different to sales numbers. I'll give you one thing, market capitalisation isn't a measure of size, but measure of value. However it's still fair to say that in terms of value, Apple a considerably bigger than Samsung. In terms of revenue, which could be argued is a pretty important metric, Apple is outperforming Samsung 3:2 with an apparent lower shipping yield. Suffice to say that Nokia and HTC would love to have either Apple or Samsung's numbers.

FTR, Exxon Mobil were the most valuable before Apple and going back over the last 10 years, GE, Microsoft and PetroChina have all been at the top. Samsung haven't bothered the top 10. Only a complete nincompoop that didn't know what they were talking about wouldn't know that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AC @ 14:28

They did it after being weeks away from going out of business 15 years ago. Which ever way you care to paint it, it's a remarkable turn around. Still, I get the impression that trying to reason with you will be fruitless (no pun intended).

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Facepalm

Re: AC @ 14:28

"Samsung are way bigger by any sensible measure that's relevant to consumers - e.g., sales. Shares only matter if you're a shareholder, and if you are, you're a shill.

Game over."

What's this - 'phone company Top Trumps' "My comanpy's bigger than yours"

What lesson do you have after playtime?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AC @ 14:28

In other news Samsung are suing LG for claimed infringement of yet-to-be patented technology and patents in the television business, some say they're being a bully (the firm is a third of South Korea's GDP vs a much smaller rival).

But there's a double-standard when it comes to patents and Samsung on most Internet comments.

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Re: TMSC, IBM and Global Foundry

I think, in practical terms, it would be nightmare. You need to find someone with a lot of spare capacity, which is bad enough. You'd need to put in a lot of effort to re-validate your design with the new libraries, and a lot more effort in testing and sorting out yield problems. It's probably 6 months hard work to get significant volumes of chips, even assuming that you could find a fab in the first place. And what's the point? Apple would certainly have to pay more for the new chips to cover the start-up costs, and they'd probably have to pay more in the long run, as the new fab would have them over a barrel.

There was speculation last year that Apple was going to buy a fab - maybe this will push it up the agenda.

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Stop

At this rate another couple years and Apple will buy Samsung and Microsoft...

..at discounted prices...

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Re: At this rate another couple years and Apple will buy Samsung and Microsoft...

Fortunately competition authorities might have a word or two to say about that idea. Mind you looking at Window H8 they might not need to buy M$ they appear to have a death wish anyway.

My only problem is finding a replacement for my slightly ageing Nokia 6230i mobile telephone, the battery only last about 3.5 days, or up to three times longer than a 'dummy phone'.

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Business as usual

Samsung are a seriously big company. The executives that sell fab services, those that sell memory, and those that run the phone division probably never see one another from one month to the next. Their individual jobs are to make money with their divisions. If one of the other divisions is lawyering up with one of their customers, all they will care is that that customer continues to buy their product or service. This is simply how large companies operate. Nothing is ever personal, it is always just business.

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Pirate

Let me guess

Samsung said the price for the memory chips Apple wanted was going to increase a bit. Probably go up by, oh, around $1.05 billion all in all, give or take a few million. So Apple said "No".

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Re: Let me guess

They'd probably just claim breach of contract, terminate the deal and buy them from somewhere else (like Intel, who can manage the volume).

Or just use a single digit percentage of their cash mountain to build a fab or two.

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Trollface

Re: Let me guess

> Or just use a single digit percentage of their cash mountain to build a fab or two.

Actually, that would be a great idea! They might have to actually engineer something, or would they then just use the Reality Distortion Field to kidnap engineers and great minds from other companies to slave away in the Apple Fab of Happiness and Joy?

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Anonymous Coward

All part of Apples master plan

Move screen production to Sharp - who cannot make enough of them

Move memory production to Toshiba - also on record as struggling to produce required volumes

Result - shortage of iphone5 leading to loads of free publicity in the media frenzy declaring how it sold out in record time and they can't keep up with demand

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Re: All part of Apples master plan

It is also a very good business practice to diversify your suppliers:

a) A range of suppliers (should) keep prices lower or more stable and quality high

b) If a supplier goes under, you still have others

c) Supply problems at one supplier are less business critical

Basically the "single point of failure" principle.

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Smartphone/touch screen history

"So before the iPhone came out, mobiles were already heading the smartphone/touch interface way"

Yes indeed ... in 2007, 64% of smartphone sales were Symbian phones ... admittedly a lot of those were Nokia phones that didn't use touchscreens, but a fair chunk of them were SonyEricsson phones that *did* (and had cameras, wifi, bluetooth, installable and downloadable apps, touchscreens, removeable memory cards, GPS (sometimes optional), cut and paste and many of the other features that the iPhone "invented" ...

http://www.quirksmode.org/blog/archives/2011/02/smartphone_sale_1.html

The first touchscreen smartphone is arguably from 2000 ... but didn't have installable apps ... but by 2002 (five years before the first iPhone) the P800 had added that feature too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ericsson_R380

No "pinch zoom" at that point as the phones had resistive screens and could only pick up a single touch point ... but multitouch capacitance screens go back to 1985, and pinch zoom was documented in 1991 and may well have predated that ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-touch

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Re: Smartphone/touch screen history

There were so many UI irritations on touch screen phones that I doubt anyone would have really got there without iPhone-isms to steal.

Firstly, a touch screen web browser pre-iPhone 1 would have had drop down selectors that behaved like on the desktop. Apple changed that and everyone else went "oh yeah".

Call these simple changes obvious, but they weren't obvious at the time as so many companies who build user interfaces simply do not spend any time thinking about HCI (human computer interaction). You need to think about what the user will do, observe them using special labs and put all of this information in a guide for developers.

Apple and Microsoft have done this for years. Google released their style guide January 2012, a whole 4 or so years after they released the OS. I'm sorry but you have to think about all of these things when designing the OS and not retrospectively say to developers "Oh yeah, this is how you should be doing things".

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