Lately, there has been a rumor running rampant in the hardware community that Apple’s next iPhone smartphone might face delays due to the current semiconductor shortage. Some reports apparently link the current 28nm capacity constraints to Apple’s timing in the iPhone 5 launch.
The main problem the Cupertino giant is facing is the same problem that has frustrated Qualcomm for the better part of 2012 – the lack of satisfactory 28nm
The demand for Qualcomm
’s successful ARM
Cortex A15 design has been so great that the company contracted four different foundries to manufacture its SoC: UMC
, Samsung, GlobalFoundries
While Samsung is Apple’s main foundry partner, it seems quite logical that if Qualcomm is not satisfied with the number of 28nm chips it is receiving from its current foundry partners, Apple won’t be either.
Apple is the world’s largest semiconductor buyer and it will likely buy more than $28 billion worth of chips in 2012 and while only some of them will be 28nm chips, the company is surely not going to launch the iPhone 5 until proper stock numbers are achieved.
Apple is not likely to want a “paper launch,” and considering the company’s rate of sales, it needs to have millions of phones ready and waiting before it announces the new smartphone.
The company is reportedly
very good at keeping secrets, so there aren’t many industry insiders that really know what’s going on, but there are various scenarios being played out by the analysts.
One scenario is that Apple will power the iPhone 5 using a radically new architecture, called A6.
On the other hand, that could be a move reserved for the future iPad and the current A5X or a 28nm die-shrink would suffice.
If we were to add a new scenario to the list, we’d say that Apple could have simply chosen Qualcomm’s Krait
and that would explain why Qualcomm
is so desperate to find enough capacity.