Apple has reportedly reduced its memory chip orders from Samsung for the forthcoming iPhone 5, as part of a move to diversify its lines of supply and ostensibly reduce its reliance on Samsung.
Samsung is a core Apple supplier, producing micro processors, flat screens, and both DRAM chips and NAND memory chips for Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod.
A source told Reuters that Apple has been cutting its orders from Samsung. However, the South Korean firm remains on the list of initial suppliers for the next-generation iPhone, which is expected to be announced on 12 September.
The source denied market speculation that the reduced orders from Apple were due to bad blood between the two companies, amid ongoing global patent disputes, and said Apple had already been looking to widen its supply chain.
Meanwhile, a separate report in the Wall Street Journal suggests that orders to South Korea-based SK Hynix for both mobile DRAM and NAND flash memory chips from Apple have risen in recent months.
Spokesmen for SK Hynix, Samsung and Apple declined to comment on the rumours.
Last month, Samsung was ordered to pay Apple more than $1 billion by a California court for infringing several of its patents in its smartphones and tablets. Samsung immediately said it would appeal the verdict.
"It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies," Samsung said in a statement.
"This is not the final word in this case or in battles being waged in courts and tribunals around the world, some of which have already rejected many of Apples claims."
Meanwhile, a Tokyo court ruled on 31 August that Samsung did not infringe an Apple patent in a locally filed lawsuit. Apple is still pursuing other lawsuits in the country, where legal monetary awards are typically much lower than in the US.