updated 10:15 am EST, Wed January 2, 2013
TSMC deal allegedly moving from possibility to fact
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has won a contract to start manufacturing A6X processors for Apple in the near future, says Taiwanese publication the Commercial Times. The A6X is used in the fourth-generation iPad, and to date has been manufactured by Samsung. A TSMC version of the processor is expected to reach trial production sometime in the first quarter of 2013.
Apple has been rumored as bringing TSMC into chip production for some time, but a decision may have finally been made. The change is believed to be less for any technological advantages than the strategic one of creating distance from Samsung. While Samsung is one of the few companies that can keep up with demand for Apple products, it is also the latter's main competitor, selling popular Android-based phones like the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II. The two firms have leveled a number of lawsuits against each other, in one case resulting in a $1.05 billion judgment in Apple's favor.