Arrangements like Apple's and Samsung's may sound strange at first but it happens a lot more than one might think. I work for a very large French company that has its own in-house IT services group, yet my subsidiary handles the majority of its IT operations on its own, including using external hosting companies and service providers that directly compete with them. We can get away with it because we execute faster, with better flexibility, higher quality, and for less money.
BTW, controlling the manufacturing isn't the advantage some make it out to be. It's a very low-margin industry, which is why so much of it is done in low-wage places like China. If bringing manufacturing in-house had strategic value then you can be assured that Apple and any other company with a decent mountain of cash would work on acquiring such capabilities. Take a look at Sony- nobody is citing their in-house manufacturing as a key differentiator or advantage.
There have been numerous proposals to link Metra to the CTA, the latest of which is the "Clinton Street Subway" plan. I agree with you that this is a concept that is long overdue, and I'm sure we could find millions more who agree with us. The problem, as usual, is money. When was the last time local government did *anything* on time or on budget? The CTA spent $250 million on the Block 37 super-station and all they have to show for it is a concrete shell that's been mothballed because there's no money to cover the overage. Metra can't even keep track of its executives' vacation time, as Phil Pagano painfully demonstrated.
That being said, I strongly believe that investments in urban transit will provide far better bang for the tax buck than inter-city high-speed service. Illinois is spending $1.1 billion of federal money to construct semi-high-speed service between Alton and Dwight. We're spending that kind of coin to connect a city of 30,000 with a city of 4,400 (in other words, $32,000 per citizen) and yet we have the audacity to criticize Alaska for their so-called "Bridge to Nowhere". That money would go a long way towards... the Clinton Street Subway, perhaps?