The unveiling of the iPhone 4 in San Francisco on Monday (local time) prompted industry insiders to joke that Apple's latest product is actually made in Korea. The LCD display, described by Apple CEO Steve Jobs as one "people haven't even dreamed about," the CPU, battery and other major components are Korean.
On June 3, just before the iPhone 4 was unveiled, Apple's chief operating officer Tim Cook visited the LG Display plant in Paju to discuss supply. The LCDs used in Apple's iPads are also from LG Display.
Samsung Electronics executives become confused when they start talking about Apple. While Samsung's Galaxy S smartphones are competing with the iPhone 4 in markets around the world, Samsung supplies the key components that go into the iPhone 4, including the flash memory chip. In other words, Samsung's main rival is also its top client. Apple may have designed the A4 1 GHz CPU that goes into the phone and is the fastest in the world, but Samsung manufactures it.
Apple says the gadget offers a 40 percent increase in call time compared to the iPhone 3GS owing to enhanced battery performance. Those batteries are made by Samsung SDI. The iPhone 4 is also equipped with multi-layer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) made by Samsung. MLCCs control the power level of electrical currents that flow inside electronic devices.
Some components of the phone are made by small Korean companies. One of them is Amotech, which manufactures the varistors used in the iPhone 4. Varistors are used to protect circuits against excessive voltage in mobile handsets. Interflex, another small Korean company, produces the flexible printed circuit boards, or FPCB, through which electricity travels, serving as the blood vessels of mobile phones.