In Samsung products, teardowns show that over 80 percent of components are made by the company itself. Consumers may be not able to tell the difference in a finished product, but this greatly reduces the time it takes to get a product to market.
"If you really look at it as who can compete with Samsung in terms of vertical integration right now, the answer is nobody. Nobody's even close," said Rassweiler. "No one can hold a candle to them in terms of in-house ability."
Some say that Samsung's status as a top component supplier can give its in-house products unfair advantages, such as first crack at new items in short supply. The company, which famously counts even bitter rivals like Apple among customers, maintains it is client-neutral.
"Components like OLED displays have been monopolized by Samsung Mobile in the past," said Won Seo, an analyst at Korea Investment and Securities. "But even though there is some conflict in interest between its component business and handset business, Samsung so far has managed this quite well, with independent businesses."
A Samsung spokesman emphasized that the company maintains strict firewalls between its component and product businesses, and that the two operate completely separately.
Samsung's broad range of devices also means that it can compete in widely different markets. In smartphones, the company is strongly competitive in advanced markets in the U.S. and Europe, and is still the dominant vendor in emerging China, where Apple lags rivals.
In nearby brand-conscious Japan, however, Apple is now the market leader, while Samsung has struggled. The Korean company is pouring much of its recent record profit into marketing, however, and was recently named the strongest smartphone brand by researcher Brand Keys.
A few weeks ago, rumors that Apple is working on a "smartwatch" hit the mainstream press. Days later, images of a Samsung smartwatch also emerged.
Whatever the source or accuracy of the watch rumors, the message is the same as it has been for smartphones and tablets. Samsung is now matching Apple product for product, leak for leak -- anything Apple can make, Samsung can too, and probably better.
The question is whether Samsung can give us something new.