Despite the partisan nature of most public debate -- that old good and evil dualism limits the complexity of rational debate -- the true relationship between the Apple and Samsung is unusual in that the latter still manufactures a range of components for the former's devices, including the processor and display. As previously noted, display manufacture is now shared between Samsung, LG and Sharp, and now it seems Apple's also taking steps to replace Samsung as processor supplier.
Those claims aren't new. Apple had been expected to migrate processor manufacture to TSMC last year, but this plot failed. Bloomberg claims Apple and Qualcomm have both attempted to take major investments in TSMC in an attempt to secure exclusive access to processor supplies.
Bloomberg explains that both firms have made proposals -- including investments of over a billion dollars -- in order to book exclusive processor fabrication from the company, but TSMC instead chose to retain complete control of its plants. Why? In order to remain flexible rather than finding itself in thrall to one customer whose requirements may change.
TSMC's Chairman Morris Chang has previously said the company would be willing to devote "one or two factories" to a single customer. Apple has an option here, should it choose to take it. On the basis of these reports I've a feeling we may see TSMC begin processor supply next year, rather than within iPhone 5, but that's just a hunch -- discount it if you wish.
Perhaps iPhone won't be a wallet...
NFC will feed the world, change the way we buy stuff and free us from the prison of cash in favor of a cashless planet. Well, that's what the evangelists say, others remark that the more we remove currency from day-to-day dealings, the more controlled the entire fiscal system will become. Will charity collection tins suddenly develop NFC support? In other words it's possible the biggest beneficiary of NFC payments may be the IRS and banks.
No doubt that debate will enter public life soon, for now however speculation regarding Apple's plans to support it continues. As mentioned before, Apple has been looking at NFC for a long time, and, with iTunes, it has the basic building blocks for a payment authorization system.
There's been years of speculation Apple may introduce NFC support, but the last few days has seen Anantech predict this is unlikely to happen within iPhone 5:
"Given the primarily metal backside of the new iPhone, it's highly unlikely that NFC is in the cards for this generation. In fact, given the very little space at top and bottom dedicated to those glass RF windows, you can almost entirely rule it out," that report said.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.