updated 03:40 pm EDT, Sun September 29, 2013
Apple to rely more on TSMC for next iPhone chip
Apple's ongoing split with Samsung appears to be continuing slowly, as a new report has the Cupertino, Calif.-based phone maker lessening its dependence on its South Korean supplier/rival for the chip that will power its next flagship smartphone. Korean news daily Hankyung claims that most of Apple's A8 processor units will be manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC). Samsung would still manufacture some A8 units, but its share of the load would reportedly be around half that of TSMC.
According to Hankyung, TSMC will be responsible for 60 to 70 percent of A8 unit manufacture. Samsung would handle the remaining 30 to 40 percent.
The report comes on the heels of the release of Apple's flagship iPhone 5s, which features the A7 processor. Ahead of the device's release, some observers speculated that Apple's sour relationship with Samsung meant that the iPhone maker would rely on TSMC for the A7. Upon inspecting the 5s' internals, though, it was revealed that Samsung had indeed manufactured the chip powering the device.
Given the companies' ongoing legal struggles, as well as their fierce competition in the smartphone and tablet segments, Apple has been trying to lessen its dependence on Samsung for the components that make up Apple's bestselling devices. For Apple, this is a means of protecting its own intellectual property from its chief rival, but it also represents a difficulty, due to Samsung's preeminence in the manufacture of many important electronic components.
TSMC has long been a viable alternative for Apple, and the manufacturer is said to have been ramping up its capabilities in order to meet the inevitable demand for Apple's next generation of devices. Apple signed a deal with TSMC in June to begin chip production in 2014, but Apple may still rely on Samsung for a good deal of supply chain support.