Samsung spills the beans on Apple's 'mini iPad' plans?

Summary:As Samsung and Apple continue its "bipolar" relationship of parts supply amid patent disputes, Apple could encroach Samsung's safe haven by attacking the 7-inch tablet market.

Less than a week since Apple announced its latest iPad, an unnamed Samsung official has told the Korea Times that Apple is "planning to release a smaller iPad", a device that could wipe rival tablets off the face of the market.

It comes following a Bloomberg report that Apple used Samsung's QXGA technology in the latest iPad iteration for its Retina display, ditching LG's technology due to lack of quality.

It seems that while Apple and Samsung squabble over patents and intellectual property, the two companies can still work together on a component supplying level. As sister site CNET puts it so bluntly: "Go figure."

The unnamed source --- who asked not to be identified --- said that the current contract between Apple and Samsung stands at "above $9.7 billion", but could "go up to $11 billion" depending on the demand for the new iPad.

The source went on to say that Apple's products "lines the pockets of Samsung". It's certainly a strange state of affairs when a technology super-giant sues a rival firm, yet in doing so effectively pays the company through other means to defend itself.

But Samsung is keen to separate legal tussles with its component supplying business. Jun Dong-soo, Samsung's memory unit chief, recently said: "We don’t see any negative impact on the partnership with Apple because of the legal issues."

Apple bought parts and components worth $7.8 billion from Samsung in 2011, the report said.

The death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who famously rejected the idea of 7-inch tablets, allowed for the Cupertino-based giant to pursue a competitive edge in the smaller-sized tablet space.

It's not the first we have heard on rumblings of rumours that Apple could be developing a 'mini iPad' to compete with the likes of Amazon and Barnes & Noble in the tablet space. In the past year, the two companies sidelined its e-reader venture to build Android-running tablets for the consumer market.

The iPad is indeed in a league of its own in the tablet market. While Amazon dominates the e-reader space with the Kindle range of devices, and Samsung retains the 7-inch tablet space, the iPad reigns as the 'ultimate' post-PC device. If Apple cracks the 7-inch tablet space, we can safely say that Samsung will longer keeps its crown within the sub-category of post-PC devices.

Apple's new iPad features a 10-inch Retina display with over 350 260 pixels per inch, a high-resolution camera, and 4G LTE capabilities. Priced at $499, it is available for pre-order and shipping begins this week.

Related:

More from the new iPad launch:

Topics: iPad, Apple, Mobility, Samsung

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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