updated 02:25 am EST, Fri December 16, 2011
Samsung uses lone US plant for iPhone and iPad
Samsung's $3.6 billion Austin plant may be dedicated almost exclusively to making Apple's A5 processors. Sources asserted Friday in conversation with Reuters that the 1.6 million square foot facility began supplying the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S with its main chip earlier in the year. Full production only just kicked in as of this month, the contacts said.
Although not directly linked, the tip also supports talk of the A6 being built in the US as well.
On the record, Samsung wouldn't confirm Apple's presence, citing its policies on clients. It did confirm that the Austin plant had grown to include "logic" chips, or processors like the A5 and A6. A full 1,100 jobs had been added to handle this side of production, or almost half of the 2,400 total working in the factory.
The plant, production for which got underway in 1996, would mark a rare return for Apple to sourcing major parts in the US. Previously, it had to get much of its iOS chip designs made in Korea. Finished hardware components still have to be shipped to China or Brazil for final assembly. Diversifying locations may help as much as improving production capacity, since it's now unlikely to lose production because of one of its main chip producers encountering a setback.
Apple has seen runaway iPad and iPhone sales, and it may be on track to ship 35 million iPhones in the fall alone. Having Austin's support would guarantee a smooth supply.