Samsung offered impressive guidance on Tuesday, reporting that it had probably earned a profit of $8.3 billion in the last quarter. The company's results were largely powered by the outperformance of its mobile division -- the company sold nearly 500 handsets per minute.

Also contributing to Samsung's success was demand for the company's mobile displays, which appear in a variety of smartphones not made by Samsung. In fact, one of Samsung's largest customers for its displays is none other than Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL [FREE Stock Trend Analysis]) itself.

This raises an interesting question for Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) investors: Does Samsung's record guidance suggest weakness for the iPhone, as consumers opt for Samsung's Galaxy devices instead? Or is strong display demand indicative of equally strong iPhone demand?

As competition has increased between Apple and Samsung, both companies have taken steps to lessen their business dependence. There were reports in October that Samsung would end its relationship with Apple in 2013. Those reports were subsequently denied, but Apple has been said to use displays largely from LG and AU Optronics for its iPad Mini.

AT&T (NYSE: T) also provided some guidance on Tuesday, stating that it had sold a record 10 million smartphones in the last quarter.

Apple is set to report earnings January 23, on which day investors will get plenty of data on iPhone sales. Until then, it remains a speculative subject.

Shares of Apple traded near $523.50 on Tuesday, largely flat on the session.


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