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Samsung tapped for RAM in Chinese iPhones

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Samsung will supply RAM for iPhones intended for the Chinese market, instead of local supplier YMTC, as Apple continues to bow to pressure from the US.

Apple has not yet bought RAM from the Yangtse Memory Technologies Co (YMTC). Nor is it prohibited from doing so by the latest US regulations, which focus on exports rather than imports.

However, Apple has been planning to buy 128-layer NAND chips from YMTC for use in the iPhone. The chips are said to be one or two generations behind those made by Micron and Samsung, but they are also at least 20% cheaper.

In October 2022, it was reported that Apple had halted its plans to buy from YMTC. Now Digitimes reports that Apple has “quietly suspended” the plans, and is believed to be switching to buy from Samsung Electronics.

It’s believed that the Samsung NAND chips will be used, starting in iPhones destined for China, in 2023. This would suggest that they are intended for the iPhone 15 range, but it’s also possible that Apple will introduce them into iPhone 14 production.

This is not Samsung’s first time supplying components for the iPhone. It manufactured earlu processors for the iPhone and iPad, RAM for an assortment of Apple models over the last 20 years, and screens for the iPhone 14 Pro, for instance. Samsung was an early supplier of flash memory for the original iPhone, though it was then replaced around 2011 or 2012 with Korean firm SK Hynix — another company that Apple has been sourcing from for over two decades.

Samsung was most recently expected to see increased orders as alternative supplies hit difficulties.

The Biden Administration has instituted new export laws with the aim of bolstering American production of processors, plus avoid potential security issues. YMTC was added to the US’s Unverified List in October 2022, meaning there are restrictions on how US companies can work with them.

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