Apple COO Tim Cook spoke during today’s earnings call about “certain agreements” Apple has entered into, guarranteeing them a ready supply of necessary parts.
On the operational side of the house, as you probably remember, we’ve historically entered into certain agreements with different people to secure supply and other benefits. The largest one in the recent past has been, we signed a deal with several flash [memory] suppliers
Blogger John Gruber speculates the latest agreements are about touchscreen parts, to keep assembly lines for iPhones humming.
My guess is that this is about touchscreen display technology. Apple is ahead of the entire industry here — no competing device has a display as nice as the iPhone 4. I think they want to push ahead technology-wise, and are paying up front so they can meet demand.
I disagree: I say those parts agreements are for new, higher capacity SSDs. The latest rev of the Macbook Air took off because of its speedy performance, something the previous iteration lacked. The SSD, standard on the newer models, made the performance difference. I’m looking for SSD-packing Macbook Pros this summer, and the new agreement will keep them supplied with higher capacity SSDs before the competition can tool up to challenge.