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Tag - TSMC
Apple may be dropping Samsung as one of its processor manufacturers for the next version of the iPhone, according to a report. Rather than split the manufacturing of the "A10" chips between two semiconductor fabricators, a South Korean newspaper claims Apple will not be using Samsung, with TSMC apparently becoming the sole company responsible for producing the processor destined for use in Apple's future smartphone.
TSMC is planning to construct a new processor manufacturing facility in China, one that is estimated to be worth around $3 billion to construct. At the same time, rumors are circulating that TSMC may end up having a considerable order from Apple in the near future, with a report suggesting Apple may simply hand complete control of its processor manufacturing over to TSMC, starting from the A10 processor expected to ship next year in a future iPhone.
Apple's powerful A9X processor is much larger in size than its predecessor, the A9, according to analysis performed by Chipworks. Used in the iPad Pro, it is claimed the A9X chip measures approximately 147 square millimeters in size, physically bigger than the TSMC-produced A9 used in the iPhone 6s by around 40 percent, with the sheer size and increase in transistors likely to make the A9X more difficult to produce as well as raising the manufacturing cost.
Apple has opted to comment on unscientific and unrealistic test results floating around that purport to show serious differences between iPhone 6s model phones using chips made by Samsung versus those made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). Apple, which uses both companies to make its A9 processor that powers both the 6s and 6s Plus, says that there is very little real-world difference between the two chips, which are slightly different sizes depending on manufacturer.
The incredible popularity of Apple's iPhones means that it often has to diversify its supplier base in order to ensure that it has enough components to fulfill tens of millions of orders. For example, Apple might employ one or more display suppliers to deliver enough panels. In most cases, this will typically go unnoticed by users, even if there are inevitably minor differences in performance. Intriguingly, Chipworks has subjected some iPhone 6s models to its yearly teardown of Apple's iPhone SoC package, and determined that not only is the A9 fabricated by two suppliers (TSMC and Samsung), but that Samsung's more advanced fab process has yielded an A9 chip that is 10 percent smaller than the TSMC-fabbed A9. Based on some preliminary testing that MacNN has conducted, there is some evidence that this results in a slight performance differential between the two.
A senior engineer at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) who left the company after nearly 20 years, has been found guilty of illegally passing on the firm's trade secrets, specifically the FinFET fabrication process, to Samsung -- which then copied the process in order to win a majority of the orders of Apple's A-series processor manufacturing, a Taiwanese court has found.
Qualcomm is looking to switch producer of its Snapdragon mobile processors, a report claims. The Snapdragon 820, a 64-bit chip expected to be provided in samples to manufacturers before the end of the year for use in devices in early 2016, will allegedly be made by Samsung's processor production lines instead of its long-term partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC).
Numerous reports appear to confirm that Samsung will return to a larger role in helping Apple manufacture its next-generation A9 chip, which will be used in future iOS devices. Apple primarily uses Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) for its A8 chips seen in the iPhone 6 and current iPad lines, but still used Samsung for manufacturing the chips to some extent due to demand. Sources say Samsung has beaten TSMC to a 14-nanometer process, giving it the edge.
Samsung will indeed be the chief supplier of processors for Apple's next iPhone(s), according to South Korea's Maeil Business Newspaper. The company is expected to take about 75 percent of CPU orders. The paper doesn't mention how much the deal is worth, or who else will be producing chips, but Samsung's manufacturing will reportedly take place at its plant in Austin, Texas, the original home of Apple's A-series processors.
Samsung has signed a deal to become the "primary supplier" of Apple's A-series processors starting in 2015, claims the Korea Times. Last year, TSMC is believed to have taken over the majority of production, possibly around 60 percent. Under the new scheme, Samsung is expected to churn out chips at its Austin, Texas plant -- the original home of the A series -- and at another facility in New York. Samsung's share of the work is forecast to grow to 80 percent by 2016.