I was under the impression that the Taipei geeks were fiddling with the touchpad and display screen markets, out of their niche in ATM touchscreen displays (which wealthy nations ignored), and that when they were contracted by Apple to make Ipads they said "hey, check this out, we put a screen on it. And you can attach at telephone". And Apple said "heck yah make that" but nothing kept Samsung from doing the same. But that's a general recollection, I don't want to be cited as a source.
I don't remember it happening in that way.
Apple acquired a company called FingerWorks that didn't do touchscreens, but DID do multitouch gesture systems.
Steve Job's vision for the iPhone was a phone that is a piece of glass. I believe capacitive sensors had been done before, but Apple's hardware+software expertise, combined with FingerWorks patents, created the gesture-based interface that now seems routine on smartphones.
To be able to manipulate items on the screen by touch -- incredibly responsive, intuitive gestures, it was a big breakthrough. Even tiny things like the little slider thing to unlock an iPhone was magic, it appeared like a physical latch because it followed your touch.
Swipe to scroll, pinch to zoom, etc etc, those gestures were from FingerWorks, AFAIK.