Executive's claims back recent rumors
Apple is giving A7 chip production over to TSMC, instead of long-time A-series chip manufacturer Samsung, an executive with one of Samsung's Korean partners has indicated to The Korea Times. "Apple is sharing confidential data for its next A7 system-on-chip (SoC) with the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC)," the person is quoted as saying. "TSMC has begun ordering its contractors to supply equipment to produce Appleís next processors using a finer 20-nanometer level processing technology."
Rumor has A7 chip only arriving in 2014
TSMC will start building A7 chips for the iPhone 6 in 2014, once an Apple contract with Samsung expires in June, claims Taiwanese publication the Economic Daily News. Samsung has so far been responsible for producing all of Apple's A-series processors, at a facility in Austin, Texas. The two companies have become increasingly hostile towards each other however, and several reports have indicated that TSMC will eventually take over some or all A-series work.
ARM, TSMC collaborate on first fabrication of Cortex-A57 chip
ARM and TSMC have jointly announced that they have collaborated on the first tape out of ARMís Cortex-A57 CPU based on its next-generation 64-bit ARMv8 mobile architecture. The new chip design will be ARMís highest performing chip to date and is targeted for use in tablets, high-end computers and servers. The Cortex-A57 was fabricated on TSMCís FinFET 16nm process, which gets its name from the tiny fish fin shape of its transistors.
Claim would put first TSMC A7s in 2014
TSMC is expected to "tape out" an Apple A7 processor with a 20nm process this month, then move into risk production in May or June, claim industry sources for DigiTimes. The sources say that TSMC is expanding its production capacity at Tainan Science Park in Taiwan with a total investment of $16.87 billion, and plans to use some of the extra capacity to build A7s. The people add, however, that the company would only start shipping A7s commercially in the first quarter of 2014.
Hon Hai, TSMC each adding 5,000 new jobs
Apple suppliers performed poorly during February, says Topeka Capital analyst Brian White. The claim is based on an "Apple Monitor," a collection of suppliers the analyst tracks as a way of gauging Apple's performance. Collectively the companies were down 31 percent in February, versus a normal 8 percent drop for the month. The results are bad even when considering the effect of the Chinese New Year, White says -- "the worst February we have on record."
New A5 processor on 28nm process suggests transition from Samsung
Appleís recent update of the Apple TV has revealed a second die-shrink for its A5 processor, reports Macrumors. A new version of the Apple TV (A1469) was acknowledged by Apple, which said the new model continues with the same functionality as the previous edition, but that it does include an unspecified component change. Now revealed, the new component also shows that Apple has switched to 28nm process for the chip, suggesting that it may have started its transition from Samsung for its chip fabrication.
Would mark unusual course reversal for Apple
Apple is planning to use a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor in the low-cost iPhone, and manufacture it using TSMC's 28nm production lines, claims an industry watcher quoted by the China Times. The move would be unusual, since Apple currently relies on its own A-series processors for iOS devices, which are produced at a Samsung facility in Texas. The Times' report does say, though, that Apple will continue to use A-series chips in other devices.
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.
Sites in Texas, California also allegedly under consideration
The states of Oregon and New York may be competing for a chip factory under consideration by an Apple supplier, says The Oregonian. Oregon's economic development agency, Business Oregon, says it is trying to recruit a company operating under the codename "Azalea." A non-disclosure agreement is preventing any more details from emerging, though a similar project --tagged with a "Project Azalea" codename -- is being pursued in New York state.
Cuomo mentions Apple has interested party
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has hinted that Apple may be connected to a plan for a chip factory in the state measuring some 3.2 million square feet, the Times Union reports. The factory was recently proposed to economic development officials in the state, but the company or companies behind the deal have been kept quiet. Apple's name has been speculated, but when approached, the Empire State Development Corporation refused to comment to the Union.
Apple accelerating split from Samsung?
Apple may be moving to TSMC for processor production "earlier than expected," according to analysts with Credit Suisse. Quoting checks with equipment suppliers and other firms in Japan, China, and Taiwan, the analysts suggest that Apple could make the jump to a 28nm TSMC process as soon as the second quarter of 2013. Credit Suisse says that until now, it had only expected Apple to start placing orders with TSMC in late 2013 or early 2014.
Quad-core, 20nm chips made by TSMC coming to Apple products in 2014?
Apple is, once again, said to be courting Taiwanese chip manufacturer TSMC to supply its future chips. The products in question are 20nm, quad-core chips that are expected to power Apple products in 2014, including a future version of the iPad.
Bids cracked $1 billion mark, report says
Apple and Qualcomm each recently made investment bids in excess of $1 billion trying to get exclusive access to chip supplies from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, according to Bloomberg. The bids were reportedly shot down because TSMC wanted to maintain flexibility in production. Qualcomm is thought to have been interested because chip shortages are limiting its earnings; Apple may have wanted a deal to reduce its dependence on Samsung.
A number of chip makers have already started stocking parts intended to be used in production of Apple's next-generation iPhone, according to industry sources for DigiTimes. Qualcomm and Broadcom are said to be producing 4G and Wi-Fi chips using a 28nm process at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. OmniVision is also said to be hunting for production at TSMC's 12-inch fab, contributing to limited production capacity. OmniVision specializes in camera components, and has supplied cameras for Apple handhelds in the past.
TSMC to fire up 20nm chip line by year's end
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), which supplies many large electronics makers with computer chips and components, has reported that its first quarter net profit fell by 7.7 percent compared to last year. The revenue for the quarter was slightly higher than expected, however. It has also said it expects to see profits grow later on in the year thanks to an improved economy and chip orders that are greater than expectations.
ARM Cortex-A15 hard macro blends speed, effciency
ARM on Tuesday rolled out a unique variant on the Cortex-A15 designed to bring the next-generation chip to shelves faster and with less power use. A new hard macro variant that has fixed specifications, including quad cores clocked at 2GHz based on a 28 nanometer TSMC-made (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) design, instead of the "soft core" that lets firms heavily customize an ARM design to their own ends. In return, however, it's both faster to implement and uses the same power as the earlier Cortex-A9.
TSMC may have low 28nm supply for CPUs, GPUs
A new and potentially far-reaching rumor has had TSMC's 28-nanometer manufacturing capacity significantly hampered for about half of the year. Supply was said by Digitimes, which has a mixed track record, to be tight enough that it wouldn't clear up until the end of the summer. The shortage was enough that it was purportedly forcing AMD, NVIDIA, and Qualcomm to all limit their releases or find alternative suppliers.
TSMC gets indirect connection to Apple
TSMC may have at least some involvement in Apple's device supply chain based on claims by Taiwan's Economic Daily News. The business newspaper asserted that the contract manufacturer had landed deals for power management parts designed by Dialog Semiconductor for future Apple hardware. TSMC had supposedly already involved itself with iPads and iPhones by manufacturing Broadcom, CSR, Cirrus Logic, and Qualcomm.
GlobalFoundries now truly independent
GlobalFoundries picked Monday to say it had bought out AMD's remaining stake in its manufacturing. The mutually agreed deal now puts the chip production firm entirely in the control of Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), the company that had originally orchestrated the split. GlobalFoundries could now act independently and wouldn't be bound to making AMD processor, although there were no immediate intentions to stop.
iPad 3 externals assembled in hint of future
Various part leaks for the next iPad came full circle on Sunday after a project successfully melded several parts together. MIC Gadget was able to get the front, back, and glass of the future Apple tablet assembled to prove that they were part of a cohesive design. As already suspected, the new iPad's case was just slightly thicker than its predecessor, although a more gradually tapered back could make it feel thinner in the hand.
TSMC hints at big mobile, PC resurgence
TSMC in trimming back its expectations for 2012 also gave a possible clue as to a big mobile push early in the year. Company CFO Lora Ho anticipated a double-digit climb in demand for processors both in home electronics and PCs, implying some level of mobile technology. CEO Morris Chang added that the US would do relatively well in 2012, and that most of the poor performance would come from Europe and Japan.
Set may be finalized by end of Q2 2012
Three more companies could be potential suppliers for the Apple TV set, say DigiTimes sources. These include Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, Siliconware Precision Industries, and the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. Sharp and Samsung were recently reported as producing LCDs and chips, respectively.
TSMC 28nm chips start up ahead of iPad, AMD, more
TSMC on Monday said it had started full-scale production of 28 nanometer chips. Designs that meet its criteria for Low Power (28LP), High Performance (28HP), and High Performance Low Power (28HPL) are all ready now with a High Performance Mobile Computing (HPM) due for later in the year. Even with the significant shrink down from the old 40nm process, it had gotten to full volume faster than before and with better yields of working chips.
ARM and TSMC get test samples of Cortex-A15
ARM and its frequent hardware partner TSMC said they had managed the first tape out, or working production samples, of the Cortex-A15 processor. The chip runs on a very dense 20 nanometer process and was produced just half a year after the basic design was ready. All the factory tools were those that could be found in an actual factory, the two said.
Business, legal issues being kept separate
Samsung is still the main producer for Apple's next-generation mobile processor, the A6, claims an anonymous executive with a South Korea-based Apple supplier. "Apple has been in talks with Samsung over shipment of its A6 quad-core mobile processor (AP) chips to be used in the next iPhone. It appears that Apple clearly has concluded that Samsung remains a critical business partner," the person tells the Korea Times. Samsung is in fact said to be boosting output of A6 chips at a manufacturing plant in Austin, Texas.
Apple said with 1,000 CPU engineers
Apple has over 1,000 engineers working on its mobile processors, the late Steve Jobs purportedly mentioned a few weeks ago. An unnamed but "veteran" CEO said shortly after Jobs' resignation that the iconic Apple CEO had told him there were "1,000 engineers working on chips." With 20,000 workers in Apple's non-retail staff, TechCrunch noted in getting the leak, that amounted to five percent of the entire company.
TSMC and Apple have tech discussions
TSMC is sending an envoy to Cupertino to discuss more details of manufacturing Apple A6 chips, insiders revealed late Wednesday. The talks, which Digitimes claims are to pledge "full support," should talk about 28 nanometer chip manufacturing yields as well as patent terms. Global UniChip, which is working with TSMC and has rights to use ARM's Cortex CPU and Mali graphics, is also believed to be part of the visit.
Investment to create 2,500 high tech jobs
IBM and Intel have agreed to invest $4.4 billion to create an R&D hub for nanotechnology in Albany, New York. The two companies, along with Samsung, Global Foundries, and TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufucturing Corporation), will make the investment over a five-year period. New York state will pour $400 million into its College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at Albany in support of the effort.
Apple taps Elpida, Toshiba for more flash and RAM
Industry sources purported Wednesday night that Apple was increasing its orders for NAND flash memory and RAM from Japanese suppliers. The parts, which Digitimes suggests would respectively come from Toshiba and Elpida, would help it further reduce dependence on Samsung. Both Apple and Samsung are involved in reciprocal lawsuits, and Apple is likely eager to avoid any retaliation from Samsung through the supply chain.
TSMC contract with Apple to last at least a year
More details of TSMC's deal with Apple have emerged that suggest it will at least be a two-generation pact. Insiders reported late Thursday that it would include both the 28 nanometer process chips widely reported as well as a smaller-still 20 nanometer process. The move outlined for Digitimes would not only have TSMC make the A6 but the A7, presumably arriving in early 2013.
Apple scrambling to be ready for iPhone 5 launch?
Apple and Broadcom are likely behind "rush orders" received by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, Bloomberg suggests. TSMC recently announced that third-quarter sales would beat forecasts because of the orders, officially attributed to an unnamed client. Because other major TSMC clients have had subpar results, the company in question is thought to be Broadcom; in turn, a Bloomberg analyst describes Broadcom as the "largest link" between Apple and TSMC.
Supplier prepping for 28nm chip production
TSMC will be ready to mass-produce 28nm chips beginning in early 2012, says the supplier's research and development head, Shang-yi Chiang. Chiang elaborates that the company has already received enough orders to fully exploit its new 28nm capacity. At least some of the orders are likely to be for a next-generation Apple processor, the A6.
Chip may or may not be A6
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. has begun trial production of a next-generation processor for Apple, sources for both Reuters and Taiwan Economic News claim. While the Reuters sources suggest that the name of the processor is uncertain, TEN's industry contacts say it will be called the A6, in keeping with Apple's naming scheme so far. The publication moreover says that production design should be taped out in Q1 2012, with a public reveal taking place in Q2. The latter would be consistent with Apple's normal timetable for iPad launches.
TSMC being gauged on A6 chip production levels
One source leaked overnight that Apple was at least experimenting with plans to make the A6 through TSMC. The Taiwanese contractor is said in practice runs that would gauge whether or not its manufacturing yields of working chips were enough that it could be trusted production. All the "authorisation and details" were ready and were just hinging on Apple's reaction, Reuters was told.
NVIDIA may push Kepler and Maxwell GPUs by a year
NVIDIA is pushing back the launches of its Kepler and Maxwell graphics architectures by roughly a year, rumors from the video card industry alleged on Friday. Originally slated for late 2011 and 2013, the respective 28 and 22/20 nanometer designs are now supposedly being moved to 2012 and 2014. The Digitimes sources believed that NVIDIA's fabrication partner TSMC wasn't producing good yields of 28nm parts and that Kepler wasn't running as quickly as hoped for.
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.
Rumored Apple deal with TSMC to go to 28nm
Apple's reported deal with TSMC runs considerably deeper than suspected, sources said Tuesday night. The semiconductor firm is supposedly building the A5 in the iPad 2 at 40 nanometers (nm), more efficiently than Samsung's 45nm process, and was chosen specifically for its performance at that size. It had the most capacity and the most reliable yields of chips in each production batch, EETimes was told.
OmniVision may not have 8MP cam in time for iPhone
OmniVision shares were shaken on Wednesday after unofficial supplier checks by Baird analyst Tristan Gerra suggested it might lose out on supplying cameras for the iPhone 5. An eight-megapixel sensor rumored for Apple's smartphone, most likely the OV8820, "may not be ready" for the mid-summer launch. Sony may have to step in and could have "all" of at least the first wave of orders, Gerra said.
Apple may fight Android with four-inch iPhone
Apple is looking at expanding the iPhone's screen size to four inches in what could be a battle with Android phones, component makers said Tuesday. Test production runs have reportedly gone to the larger screen area. The move as explained by Digitimes would help bridge the gap between the iPhone and the iPad.
NVIDIA, TSMC celebrate 1b GeForce chip shipments
NVIDIA and manufacturing partner TSMC on Thursday announced they've shipped the one-billionth GeForce graphics processor. The achievement shows the popularity of the line of GPUs from NVIDIA, which are offered by most PC makers in desktops and notebooks. The two took roughly 12 years to achieve the feat following the original GeForce 256 from 1999.
Intel rumored to partner with TSMC
Intel is rumored to be planning to outsource the production of its Panther Point chipsets, according to a report. Industry sources are claiming that Intel plans to partner with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacture Company (TSMC), which will fabricate the Panther Point chipsets, which will be paired with Intelís Ivy Bridge processors. The move is aimed at reducing manufacturing costs in order to address AMDís competitively priced Fusion APUís (Accelerated Processing Units).
AMD Radeon HD 6970 gets early hard details
AMD's expected graphics range-topper, the Radeon HD 6970, surfaced over the weekend with some of the earliest specs and photos. The card should be a single-chip design and should pack 1,536 stream (visual effects) processors, or slightly less than the 1,600 of the 5870; performance should get faster with 96 texture units versus the older hardware's 80. It may be the first reference design, single-chip mainstream video hardware to have 2GB of RAM onboard, according to Fudzilla's anonymous sources.
Apple thought to be snubbing Infineon, Broadcom
Qualcomm will likely subcontract with TSMC -- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. -- in order to produce 3G chipsets for next-generation iPhones and iPads, industry executives claim. TSMC uses a 65nm manufacturing process, one which analysts suggest should be enough to satisfy Apple's demands. TSMC itself will neither confirm or deny any plans, except to say that it's currently inundated with orders.
TSMC to optimize ARM chips as small as 20nm
ARM and TSMC today detailed an agreement that should significantly optimize ARM chips. The deal will see TSMC improve the performance, speed and size of ARM processors made at its factories down to processes as dense as 20 nanometers. TSMC in turn gets access to ARM processor designs up to and including the Cortex architecture found in chips from Apple, Samsung and others.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 400 cards to be down on cores
NVIDIA's first GeForce GTX480/470 graphics cards will reportedly have less than the 512 cores originally expected because of a low yield of 40nm chips at its supplier, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). Leaks have now claimed the the GeForce GTX 480 will drop from 512 to 480 cores, while the GTX 470 will have 448 cores. TMSC's 40nm yield is less than 50 percent because of the inherent difficulties in the manufacturing of the technology.
AMD facing ATI Radeon GPU shortages
PC vendors that rely on AMD graphics cards are delaying their shipments scheduled for the first quarter of 2010 by nearly two months, say sources at the manufacturers, DigiTimes claimed on Thursday. Radeon HD 5000-series GPUs and HD 4000-series GPUs are reportedly facing shortages through a combination of factors. The shortage of the 40nm Radeon HD 5000 cards is due to a low yield at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) 40nm factories, while the 4000-series GPUs scarcity is allegedly AMD's own doing as it has scaled back production of older technology after releasing the more advanced 40nm parts.
ARM preps 2GHz Cortex A9
ARM this morning said it as developed a 2GHz, dual-core version of its Cortex-A9 architecture. The new design is intended to be built on a newer 40 nanometer (nm) manufacturing process and so achieves the added speed without consuming much if any extra power versus slower parts; ARM estimates just 0.25W per CPU. The design is pitched as ideal for particularly fast home devices that still need either to fit into tight spaces or to use little energy.
NVIDIA 40nm GPUs in Sept
NVIDIA's first graphics chipsets based on a new 40 nanometer manufacturing process could be available by the start of the fall, a newspaper claimed on Tuesday. Taiwan's Commercial Times says the GeForce GT 220 and G210 are due to ship in late September. The story supports notions of a delay and says TSMC, which manufactures NVIDIA's chipsets, had initially suffered from poor yields of the 40nm parts but has since recovered and can supply enough for the last quarter of the year.
2009 iPhone Supplier Leak
The companies responsible for manufacturing parts in the next major iPhone release have potentially been named by industry contacts of DigiTimes that also predict ship dates and numbers. The Taiwan-area site reinforces its previous claim that OmniVision is making a 3.2-megapixel sensor for the Apple handset's camera and now says that Largan Precision is making the rest of the imaging unit. Infineon is continuing to provide the cellular baseband (likely upgraded to 7.2Mbps 3G) as well as the GPS chipset.
Wi-Fi chip shortage
Healthy netbook sales in China, India and other emerging markets for Realtek Semiconductor have the networking IC designer increasing its 802.11n Wi-Fi chip orders, spurring a shortage manufacturers Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), according to a report in the Taiwan-area Commercial Times newspaper. Realtek has reportedly ordered one fifth more Wi-Fi chips in March than in February, and the shortage will last until June, according to a Chinese Commerical Times story. More than 8,000 Wi-Fi chip orders will be ordered in the second quarter.