updated 10:20 am EDT, Fri June 24, 2011
Samsung still producer of A5 chips
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company should stand a good chance of winning orders for Apple's A6 processor, says Merrill Lynch analyst Dan Heyler. Apple has not yet announced the A6, but will likely continue to use custom chip designs for iOS devices as it has since the introduction of the original iPad. An A6 would probably first appear in the iPad 3, then migrate in modified form to an iPhone 6 and sixth-generation iPod touch.
Heyler comments that even if TSMC manufactured all of Apple's iPad chips in 2012, those orders would still represent an estimated 2 percent of TSMC's predicted sales for the year. The Chinese-language Commercial Times meanwhile reports that Apple's A5 processor, so far used only in the iPad 2, continues to be manufactured by Samsung via a 45nm process. TSMC is not expected to share in any orders from Apple during the remainder of 2011.
Apple may well need to use multiple chip manufacturers in 2012. Demand for iOS devices continues to rise, and is regularly testing the limits of assembly and supply. Months after launch, for instance, US online sales of the iPad 2 are still showing a one- to two-week delay.