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Mac Planet: Samsung and Apple's never-ending battle

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After extensive litigation and decisions in different territories going to one company or the other, Samsung remains unbowed by the struggle. Samsung's mobile and IT division head told reporters that the Korean company doesn't intend to negotiate with Apple.

This is despite the recent example of HTC signing a ten-year cross-licensing agreement with Apple that will end all legal battles between the two companies. It will also lead to at least a little HTC money going Apple's way. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but analysts estimate that HTC will send Apple between $6 and $8 per phone in a deal that'll net Apple over $200 million each year.

OK, well, I guess that's not much of an incentive to deal. But it's not just Samsung being intransigent: Apple has further distanced itself from rival Samsung by switching to different suppliers for iPad and MacBook batteries. Apple has been labouring to avoid Samsung's components since the companies became embroiled in various legal battles all over the world.

Apple is now relying on batteries from Amperex Technology Limited and Tianjin Lishen Battery to power its iPads and MacBooks, according to Chinese Business News.

Sterling brands, I'm sure. Just not exactly household names.

Apple had already shunned Samsung's displays and flash memory, which have been integral to millions of previous Apple products over the years.

Apple's decision to give Samsung Display the boot may be "one that comes back to haunt the Cupertino company" (as Cult of Mac puts it).

The smaller Apple tablet was expected to be a smash hit this Christmas, but Apple is said to be up against supply constraints with one of its two display manufacturers.

For the new iPad mini, Apple chose LG Display and AU Optronics. The problem is, the smaller AU Optronics may be struggling to keep up with Apple's orders.

DigiTimes reports that LG Display is supplying the vast majority of panels for the iPad mini since AU Optronics "continues to suffer from poor yields in the production of panels for the devices."

This could become a big issue for Apple as we approach the holiday season. New Zealand retailers have been struggling to get stock of the mini already, with one waiting weeks to finally get a delivery of ... 11! (So it's not their fault, folks, if you can't find what you're wanting.)

In the States, Apple online has reasonable shipping times for the mini, but here our Apple online stores still says "Limited quantities available". Meanwhile, the iPad 4 with the, presumably, harder-to-build Retina display is readily available.

In better news, iPhone 5 seems to be in the channel now, with barely any wait times, and the new razor-thin iMac, which had also been rumoured to be under supply constraint, is now almost with us - Apple has announced it is on sale from today, in the 21-inch version at least, with the 27-inch set to follow in December. I'm very much looking forward to trying one of these out, to benchmark that Fusion drive and just to see the beauteous thing in the flesh. Anyway, the point is, rumours of Apple product doom don't always pan out - at least, not for long.

Apple, by the way, has posted its annual Gift Guide page to help you spend your money on the Inc. How thoughtful.

Of course Apple promotes its own stuff here, but there are some intriguing things from third parties, too, like the Crayola DigiTools Ultra Pack for iPad. Say what? Exactly. This is an Apple Store exclusive. So it might be worth sidelining your cynicism and checking out the Gift Guide, at least for intriguing packs like this.

On that subject, I started looking at new stuff this month and it totally snowballed on me. I have been posting reviews on mac-nz.com at a furious rate (for me) and now I have seen so many products, and have so many more to look at, I am doing my own gift guide, as it were. So subscribers to my free monthly MagBytes pdf will get another issue before the usual last Thursday of the month packed full of the new stuff I have been looking at, for Macs, iDevices and more. All of this stuff is available in New Zealand, so I hope it will be helpful to you, and thanks to all the vendors who have been lending me things to salivate over, and for bravely ignoring my heartrending (although, obviously not heartrending enough) tears when I give them back.

I do plan to summarise everything on Mac Planet one day soon, so you don't even need to sign up for the free monthly PDF of Apple news, tips and tricks. So I'm not actually 'selling' you anything free and useful after all.

Anyway, back to the corporate stoush. Apple can't divorce itself entirely from Samsung, because despite the increasingly public nastiness between the two Corps, Samsung's processors are still the CPUs in Apple's iOS devices. There's no real choice: Samsung is the only supplier of the A4, A5, and A6 processors Apple needs; it's simply not yet feasible to shift supply elsewhere. With that in mind, Samsung recently announced it will be increasing the price Apple pays for its processors by 20% in 2013. Ouch.

Samsung recently had to pay Apple more than $1 billion in damages in the US when a jury found the Korean electronics giant guilty of patent infringement. However, this is just one of many legal battles involving the two companies; in other places, Samsung has been the winner.

And on the 'protestations of doom' subject: Apple has had some unholy arguments that have got very personal before. Adobe and Apple almost declared war a couple of times, and dare I mention Microsoft vs Apple? However, most of the time, these issues got worked out, and they carried on swapping knowledge and supporting each other in not immediately obvious ways, so all is not lost. Samsung may one day be an Apple partner again.

For there's a magic ingredient in all this, isn't there? It's called 'money'.

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