TSMC to craft more chips for Apple's next-gen portable devices

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014


Apple's relationship with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company continues to grow, as the chipmaker has been tapped to produce power management integrated circuits for future iPhones and iPads.



TSMC already provides iPhone and iPad chips through foundry services for Broadcom, CSR, Cirrus Logic and Qualcomm. Now, it has orders from Dialog Semiconductor to build power management chips for Apple's next-generation portable devices, according to DigiTimes.



TSMC and Dialog recently announced a cooperative venture to build the next generation of bipolar-CMOS-DMOS (BCD) technology. It will be featured in Dialog's future power management integrated circuits, which are expected to be available by the end of the year, just in time for Apple's anticipated next-generation iPhone.



The growing role of TSMC comes as the company is believed to be in the running to produce future "A6" and "A7" ARM-based processors for Apple's next-generation iOS devices. Last September it was said that TSMC signed a foundry agreement to build chips based on its 28-nanometer and 20-nanometer process technologies.



The Taiwanese company was said to have begun trial production of some Apple mobile chips last July, but it is believed that Apple's primary chip supplier remains one of its fiercest rivals: Samsung.











Rumors have suggested that Apple has looked to forge a closer alliance with TSMC to move away from Samsung. Though Apple and Samsung compete in the smartphone, tablet and PC markets, and are engaged in a series of lawsuits accusing each other of patent infringement, Samsung remains one of Apple's primary suppliers for ARM CPUs, flash memory and LCD displays.



The newfound partnership between TSMC and Dialog could result in more advanced power management chips in Apple's sixth-generation iPhone. The next iPhone is largely expected to arrive this fall, about a year after the launch of the iPhone 4S.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

Comments

  • shaun, ukshaun, uk Posts: 1,050member
    I'm surprised someone like Toshiba doesn't see the opportunity to buy someone like TSMC and move more into components to compete with Samsung, rather than continue to try and sell their own computers, tablets, etc. There must be big money to be made as an Apple supplier, especially now that Apple want to disengage from their relationship with Samsung.
  • sleepy3sleepy3 Posts: 244member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post


    especially now that Apple want to disengage from their relationship with Samsung.



    I cant remember seeing anything official along these lines. Sure, they have their spats in court, but Apple knows that Samsung is far and away the best at manufacturing the highly technical parts of its devices, and their manufacturing technology lead continues to grow every year with their ridiculously large R&D budget.



    As an apple customer, one would hate for apple to drop Samsung for a less reliable company and end up with an xbox 360 on their hands
  • shaun, ukshaun, uk Posts: 1,050member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post


    I cant remember seeing anything official along these lines. Sure, they have their spats in court, but Apple knows that Samsung is far and away the best at manufacturing the highly technical parts of its devices, and their manufacturing technology lead continues to grow every year with their ridiculously large R&D budget.



    As an apple customer, one would hate for apple to drop Samsung for a less reliable company and end up with an xbox 360 on their hands



    Not sure an iPhone 360 would fit in my pocket lol.



    I know what you're saying but doesn't that put Apple in a vulnerable position. What if in the future Samsung decide to supply their own phones with the latest components first and make Apple wait. If they make more money selling the phones than selling the chips it could happen. I don't know, I was just speculating on why some of the big Japanese companies like Toshiba haven't entered the market to compete with Samsung. They could make a lot of money. Why leave it to the smaller companies like TSMC.
  • doctor daviddoctor david Posts: 819member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post


    I cant remember seeing anything official along these lines. Sure, they have their spats in court, but Apple knows that Samsung is far and away the best at manufacturing the highly technical parts of its devices, and their manufacturing technology lead continues to grow every year with their ridiculously large R&D budget.



    As an apple customer, one would hate for apple to drop Samsung for a less reliable company and end up with an xbox 360 on their hands



    I suspect Apple may want to diversify its supplier base a bit. They do seem to have very stringent quality controls though according to pretty much everything I've heard anyway.

    It's rather surprising that, even though a given part may be supplied by multiple manufacturers, there isn't a preference or attempts by consumers(or hardcore Apple addicts) to try and get one with the parts from the "good" manufacturer. Excellent quality control.
  • bullheadbullhead Posts: 492member
    awesome! anything to move away from the Samesung copiers.
  • MarvinMarvin Posts: 13,732member, moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple's relationship with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company continues to grow



    Let's hope they offer to design them a new logo while they're at it.
  • tooltalktooltalk Posts: 766member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post


    I'm surprised someone like Toshiba doesn't see the opportunity to buy someone like TSMC and move more into components to compete with Samsung, rather than continue to try and sell their own computers, tablets, etc. There must be big money to be made as an Apple supplier, especially now that Apple want to disengage from their relationship with Samsung.



    Well, Apple is known to drive hard bargain on prices from component-suppliers. I know that Samsung's semi has 15% profit margin, but then Samsung is in its own league - ie, Samsung makes money when everyone else is losing. I'm guessing that other supplier's margin isn't probably as lucrative.
  • secular investorsecular investor Posts: 205member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post


    Not sure an iPhone 360 would fit in my pocket lol.



    I know what you're saying but doesn't that put Apple in a vulnerable position. What if in the future Samsung decide to supply their own phones with the latest components first and make Apple wait. If they make more money selling the phones than selling the chips it could happen. I don't know, I was just speculating on why some of the big Japanese companies like Toshiba haven't entered the market to compete with Samsung. They could make a lot of money. Why leave it to the smaller companies like TSMC.



    I agree. Apple will surely but steadily move away from allowing Samsung to be their main supplier. Samsung is now their greatest competitor, and allowing them to have an inside track and advance warning of Apple's new devices is too large a risk, as is being dependent on them for key components.
  • peter236peter236 Posts: 254member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post


    I'm surprised someone like Toshiba doesn't see the opportunity to buy someone like TSMC and move more into components to compete with Samsung, rather than continue to try and sell their own computers, tablets, etc. There must be big money to be made as an Apple supplier, especially now that Apple want to disengage from their relationship with Samsung.



    Taiwan government would not allow that to happen, since TSMC has its industrial strategic value.
  • jack99jack99 Posts: 157member
    Are my eyes deceiving me? People on AI are engaging in incisive analysis rather than making stuff up and avoiding the usual bouts of fanboyism!





    Yes, Apple has an interest in diversifying away from Samsung. I got a lot of flak and criticisms from others on AI for saying this almost a year ago, but not too many companies out there can beat Samsung in terms of manufacturing components. As an example, it's only just recently Sony and LG began churning out small-sized AMOLED panels and even then, their total display sales have amounted to no more than 0.5% of the small display panel market. When you consider that many other phone and tablet companies have an interest in getting their hands on AMOLED panels, this says quite a bit.





    TSMC no doubt has a credible record of reliability. Key fabless contractee customers include Nvidia and Qualcomm. But anyone who has been following news in the foundry world knows TSMC is having trouble tackling its yield issues. It just can't seem to keep up with the usual fare of orders from its customers. This may be linked to delays in Nvidia's orders for its Tegra 3 processors. That leaves on the table Samsung's foundry which has shown the ability to deliver in spite of being a relatively new entrant to the market. Its 32nm manufacturing process at first blush looks inferior and less efficient. But a closer look shows that the silicon material Samsung uses is second generation stuff, which not surprisingly was developed after Samsung capitalized on its early mover advantage in 2011 as the first adopter of 32nm processes.





    Now I'm not ruling out TSMC as a formidable player in 2012-2013. But I foresee some of their market share for foundry work being eroded by other players from the current high of 50% as Nvidia looks to alternatives. Knowing Apple, they'll be on board when TSMC fixes their yield issues and bring their 28nm process out of beta.





    On a different note: I just hope Apple and Samsung reach a settlement on the patent disputes. I've said this before and I'll say it again. The whole thing's a travesty.
  • tooltalktooltalk Posts: 766member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bullhead View Post


    awesome! anything to move away from the Samesung copiers.



    if Apple's new iPad is any indication, Apple's dependence on Samsung is growing.
  • siromegasiromega Posts: 28member
    Am I the only one who has issues with Apple & suppliers tying up with TSMC? Their ability to deliver on time has been.... questionable. Look at the 40nm transition, and the current 28nm transition, and they don't exactly have a stellar record for upgrading their fab facilities.



    Samsung is set to roll out 32nm this year, and while its not as good as 28nm, reliability is more important for Apple to hit their annual release cycle. For those that don't know, it takes 12-16 weeks to fabricate a chip, from start to end. From the first silicon wafer down the line to the first chips ready to be put on PCBs and sent out. So if Apple wants to have several million iPhone 5s ready for launch in late September, then that means by the first of June they need to be producing parts.
  • chadwicksachadwicksa Posts: 4member
    I'm surprised someone like Toshiba doesn't see the opportunity to buy someone like TSMC and move more into components to compete with Samsung

  • jack99jack99 Posts: 157member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by siromega View Post


    Am I the only one who has issues with Apple & suppliers tying up with TSMC? Their ability to deliver on time has been.... questionable. Look at the 40nm transition, and the current 28nm transition, and they don't exactly have a stellar record for upgrading their fab facilities.



    Samsung is set to roll out 32nm this year, and while its not as good as 28nm, reliability is more important for Apple to hit their annual release cycle. For those that don't know, it takes 12-16 weeks to fabricate a chip, from start to end. From the first silicon wafer down the line to the first chips ready to be put on PCBs and sent out. So if Apple wants to have several million iPhone 5s ready for launch in late September, then that means by the first of June they need to be producing parts.







    I'm no expert on the issue, but based on what I've read, yes and no.





    Nvidia's been getting screwed over by TSMC's delays. Don't get me wrong--TSMC is a competent foundry company. They've got a long history of success with a market share of about 49%. That's impressive. But they've been having troubles churning out chips at 28nm. All these reports and charts surfacing are showing why. It's becoming more and more difficult to cut costs and achieve profitability at lower nodes in the same amount of time as say 45nm and 32nm.





    Samsung already had the 32nm process out in 2011. The 32nm process that's mentioned here and elsewhere has been tweaked around and uses different materials. It's still at a tried and true node, but it's reliable. I expect Samsung's placement among foundries to rise a few notches in the next 2 years.
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 40,381member
    DigiTimes.



    TSMC has always had problems in the past, haven't they? Why would we believe they could do it this time? Why would we believe DIGITIMES?
  • jack99jack99 Posts: 157member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post


    I cant remember seeing anything official along these lines. Sure, they have their spats in court, but Apple knows that Samsung is far and away the best at manufacturing the highly technical parts of its devices, and their manufacturing technology lead continues to grow every year with their ridiculously large R&D budget.





    My sentiments exactly. Samsung's components business, though a part of Samsung Electronics, has more to gain from working with Apple and vice versa. It's a beneficial relationship for both sides.





    Quote:

    As an apple customer, one would hate for apple to drop Samsung for a less reliable company and end up with an xbox 360 on their hands.





    Cold.
  • jack99jack99 Posts: 157member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bullhead View Post


    awesome! anything to move away from the Samesung copiers.





    Wow, such an insightful comment. Please, shower us with more of your wisdom!
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