Apple picks new battery supplier, drops Samsung

Apple has chosen two China-based battery companies to supply the iPad and MacBook, says a Friday report. Amperex Technology Limited and Tianjin Lishen Battery would replace Samsung SDI, a subsidiary of the South Korean firm that is both Apple’s chief rival and largest supplier. The report is just the latest indicating Samsung and Apple are reconsidering their close relationship.

As the two smartphone giants attempt to out-compete each other in the courtroom and store shelves, Samsung’s role appears to be shifting from major supplier to important manufacturer…

Darrel Etherington, reporting for TechCrunch:

This battery supplier report is just the latest in a series of indicators that the relationship between the two could be undergoing a slow but inevitable shift, but don’t expect to see Apple and Samsung walk away from each other entirely for quite a while yet.

Despite denials from both Apple and Samsung, there has been a steady stream of leaks suggesting a shift between the two companies.

Samsung reportedly had hiked prices for processors it was supplying to Apple, though an unnamed official reportedly denied the assertion. This was followed by another report saying the South Korean company planned to take a “more aggressive stance” in Apple negotiations.

At another point, it was reported that Apple was moving its display business to a different supplier. More evidence is mounting that Apple is seeking ways to untangle itself from Samsung.

Word on the street has it that Apple will move production of its in-house designed chips away from Samsung to rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. Still, few believe Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook will rush to slash ties with Samsung.

An aerial view of Samsung’s fabrication facility in Austin, Texas where Apple-designed processors for iPhones and iPads are being made exclusively.

The interconnections are too great and Samsung’s huge production capabilities will take time to farm out. However, Cook is well versed in Apple’s supplier universe, coming from the operations side of the consumer electronics firm.

If Apple can save time and money without dealing with Samsung, it will happen.

Otherwise, be prepared to deal with another chapter of the Silicon Valley Odd Couple.

At any rate, Samsung is taking a less-prominent role in producing Apple gadgets.

Feel free to chime in with your thoughts down in the comments.