SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Apple Inc's new iPad mini includes a display from South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, a key supplier but also the Silicon Valley tech giant's fiercest rival in a global mobile-device war.
The iPad mini, to be available in stores on Friday, also includes Apple's A5 processor, SK Hynix Inc flash memory, a Broadcom touch controller and a number of chips from Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc, according to electronics repair company iFixit, which acquired one early and opened it on Thursday.
``Though the markings on the back of the LCD (display) don't turn up much information, the Samsung display driver (chip) reveals that Apple once again went with Samsung in its display manufacturing,'' iFixit said.
Apple and Samsung are engaged in patent disputes across several countries as they vie for market share in the booming mobile industry, and Apple is believed to be seeking ways to rely less on Samsung. But Samsung remains a key supplier for Apple, manufacturing its application processors and providing other components.
The 7.9 inch iPad mini marks the iPhone-maker's first foray into the smaller-tablet segment. Apple hopes to beat back incursions onto its home by popular 7-inch slates, while safeguarding its lead in a larger tablet space - one that even deep-pocketed rivals like Samsung have found tough to penetrate.
Samsung has stopped supplying displays for Apple's iPhone, and does have a reduced role in the iPad panel, according to DisplaySearch. Apple is also buying fewer memory chips from Samsung for the iPhone 5, relying more on SK Hynix Inc and Elpida Memory.
Many analysts believe Apple will also gradually phase out Samsung as the main supplier of the mobile micro-processor, essentially the brains of its mobile devices, and shift to rival supplier TSMC.
Priced at $329 for a Wi-Fi only model, the iPad mini is more expensive than many analysts expected. Amazon's Kindle Fire and Google's Nexus 7, both released at $199, have grabbed a chunk of the lower end of the tablet market and proved demand for a pocket-sized slate exists.