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Monday, August 25, 2014, 06:02 am PT (09:02 am ET)

After being cut out of iPhone 5 & 5s, Samsung allegedly supplying Apple DRAM again for 'iPhone 6'

Key component partner and fierce rival Samsung has reportedly wedged its way back into Apple's supply chain for the next iPhone, as the South Korean company will allegedly be one of three companies supplying dynamic random-access memory for the "iPhone 6."

A5X RAM

Samsung-sourced DDR2 RAM modules as used with Apple's A5X chip. | Source: Chipworks


Samsung was actually cut out of Apple's DRAM business starting with the iPhone 5 and carrying over to the iPhone 5s, according to analyst Timothy Arcuri of Cowen and Company. But for the "iPhone 6," Samsung has been reportedly brought back into the fold, he said in a note to investors on Monday, a copy of which was provided to AppleInsider.

Other DRAM suppliers for Apple's next-generation iPhone are said to be Micron and Elpida. DRAM is the system memory included inside the A-series processors that power Apple's iPhone and iPad, which has remained at 1 gigabyte for the A6 chip found in the iPhone 5, as well as the A7 processor that powers the iPhone 5s.

Exactly how much DRAM will be included in the anticipated "A8" processor expected to power Apple's "iPhone 6" remains unknown. Additional RAM would allow applications to run in the background longer, or for the Safari browser to keep open websites cached without a need to reload, but more system RAM also results in faster battery drain to keep the memory powered.

According to Acuri, Apple is expected to take up so much of the overall market supply of DRAM this fall that general prices will actually increase sequentially between 3 and 5 percent in September.

Though Samsung is a heated rival with Apple, the company is also a key supplier of parts for the company's hot selling iPhone models. Most notably, all of Apple's custom A-series chips to date have been built at Samsung's silicon fabrication operations based out of Austin, Tex.

Samsung was found to have supplied DRAM for at least some of the first batch of A6 chips that powered the iPhone 5 in 2012. But Apple was said at the time to have quickly dropped the South Korean company, as Apple filled the void with suppliers Toshiba, Elpida Memory, and SK Hynix.

As for last year's A7 processor, initial teardowns of both the iPhone 5s and iPad Air discovered that the onboard DRAM was supplied by Elpida.