Quality issues reportedly prompt Apple to cozy up to Samsung for iPad screens

iPad mini (flat, finger)

It’s no secret Apple’s been working around the clock to decrease its reliance on Samsung for components. I’m also sure you know the two frenemies have been entangled in a complicated web of lawsuits the world over for two years. Now, various market repots have indicated Apple months ago showed Samsung the door by introducing other mobile display makers to the iPad supply chain, namely LG Display and Sharp.

In an interesting reversal, research firm NPD DisplaySearch said Wednesday it believed Samsung actually gained on the iPad screen supplier LG Display because Apple in April and June reportedly sourced more 9.7-inch iPad panels from LG Display than from Samsung…

CNET spoke to DisplaySearch:

Apple, in fact, has been boosting purchases of displays from Samsung since January, according to the market analyst.

Apple got about 2.3 million units from Samsung in the first quarter.

That figure jumped about 80 percent quarter-to-quarter to more than 4.1 million units in the second quarter, according to DisplaySearch.

“The report cited an industry official, who claimed that Apple is having problems procuring displays from suppliers such as Sharp and AU Optronics,” CNET added.

The story goes on to note that Samsung will begin supplying 7.9-inch panels for the upcoming iPad mini update “in the second half of 2013,” with LG Display and Japan Display also expected to supply iPad mini panels.

However, it’s unclear whether those iPad mini panels are Retina or the regular 1,024-by-768 pixel ones. Worse, the rumor-mill has been largely undecided as to whether there will be a Retina iPad mini this year or if a minor CPU bump (and a slight price decrease) is to be expected until a Retina variant is ready in March or April 2014.

For what it’s worth, NPD DisplaySearch said as far back as last December that Apple stopped sourcing 7.9-inch 1,204-by-768 pixel panels for the iPad mini from Samsung.

Last August and September, if DigiTimes is to be trusted, LG Display became the primary supplier of Retina iPad panels. As for the iPad mini, another report DigiTimes filed in December 2012 asserted that the majority of 7.9-inch iPad mini panels were actually being made by LG Display back then, rather than Samsung.