Breaking: Apple to Dump Samsung as iPhone CPU Maker [DigiTimes]

A-series chips powering iPhones and iPads to be manufactured by TSMC

By on November 28th, 2012 15:36 GMT

Apple is about to send a shockwave throughout the semiconductor industry as it reportedly plans to shift iPhone CPU orders from Samsung over to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacture Company (TSMC).

Finance site DigiTimes has a scoop on Apple’s latest plans to reduce its dependency on Samsung Electronics.

It seems “likely,” that “TSMC will start producing chips for Apple's next iOS devices in 2013,” according to industry observers cited by the Taiwanese publication.

Samsung Electronics continues to be the only supplier of SoCs (system on a chip) that power Apple’s iDevices.

Recent reports casted doubt on the duo’s marriage as Samsung was said to have increased the price for Apple chip manufacturing. Those reports remain to be confirmed.

However, there have also been reports that TSMC refused Apple’s proposition to make its A-series processors. Just like the aforementioned rumors, these talks haven’t been confirmed.

Whether or not the Taiwanese chip maker ends up signing with Apple, demand on behalf of the Cupertino giant is expected to be huge.

Analysts estimate that TSMC will have to churn up 200 million chips annually, and that the foundry could risk upsetting its other major clients, like NVIDIA, Altera, and Qualcomm.

“TSMC will need at least more than 200,000 12-inch wafers ready to satisfy the huge demand from Apple,” the reported observers estimate.

Samsung has handled five different specifications of the A-series chip, starting with the A4 in the iPhone 4, and continuing with the A5, the A5X, the A6, and finally the A6X, which is said to be Apple’s first 100% custom SoC.

The Korean electronics company has benefited immensely from Apple’s massive orders. However, intensified patent litigation between the two technology giants is forcing them to grow apart.
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