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Apple/Samsung Deal to Yield Innovative Designs

On July 28th of this year, Apple officially announced that they would sink $100 million into a partnership with Samsung Electronics, a leader in flat-panel LCD displays. The deal comes at a time when LCD (liquid crystal display) prices are on the rise due to a supply shortage, as the computing industry has flooded the market with LCD-based products.

According to Apple, the investment is part of their strategy to ensure an adequate supply of TFT-LCD displays to meet the growing demand for Apple products and, of course, ensure the future of their iBook consumer portable. But the fruits of the deal will not ripen for many, many months, analyst sources say.

LCD prices are not where Apple wants them, as a recent television interview with Steve Jobs has revealed. According to sources, the price surge increased the MAP (minimum advertising price) of Apple's iBook more than $100 over what they would have liked, and in the process has placed the introduction of their large, wide-screen, all digital, flat-panel Apple Cinema Display on the back burner.

The goal of Apple's partnership with Samsung is to clear up these LCD shortages for Apple within a year, effectively allowing them to lower prices and meet demand for LCD-based Apple products in a more timely fashion. But on the flipside, Apple had some other plans in mind when they decided to open their wallet and shell out a large sum of cash for an investment.


1993 Flat-Panel Apple Desktop Design Code Named Pomona.



According to sources with ties to Apple's Industrial Design Studio, the company has been toying with a slew of new designs, all based around flat panel displays. The most interesting, of course, is an iMac modeled about an LCD display, whose design is said to be a radical departure from any of the current iMacs.

A lot of these designs are currently no more then mockups and styrofoam concepts, which are not positioned for the next revision of the iMac, code-named Kihei. Though, if Apple's deal with Samsung produces the desired effect (lower prices), the third generation iMac, which will debut sometime in late 2000 or early 2001, may be the first Apple product to follow in the footsteps of the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh.

There are a lot of reasons to support such a move, not the least of which would be that it is the next step toward escaping the likes of the "bubble-shaped" all-in-one design. Additionally, one of the goals of Apple's Industrial Design Studio is to make the personal computer as pleasurable to have in the house when it is not in use as it is when browsing the Web.

For these very reasons, it's expected that in the years to come, Apple will not only be listed as the most innovative computer company in the world, but also as a fashion designer. And Apple has proven that fashion does sell computers —just not to everyone.