Citing "industry sources," the sometimes reliable DigiTimes said Samsung is "likely" to put off construction of the new plant, allegedly called "Line-17," over the possibility that the company will lose chip orders from Apple in the coming months.
According to sources, the South Korean electronics giant is looking to build the plant in its home country, which would be a major change from the current setup which has Samsung's Austin, Texas factory churning out Apple's A-series chips.
The new facility, reportedly a $3.7 billon to $5.5 billion investment, is scheduled to start production in the beginning of 2014 and will be making mobile CPUs based on advanced 20-nanometer and 14-nanometer processes.
Samsung-built A6X SoC found in Apple's fourth-generation iPad. | Source: Chipworks
Samsung acts as the forge for the system-on-chips used in iOS devices, however recent rumblings have suggested that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. will be taking over some fabrication duties for Apple's next-generation silicon by late 2013. Reports of the purported switch have been circulating for well over a year, however no official announcement has been made, and Samsung continues to be the exclusive manufacturer of the Apple-designed processors.
As for the TSMC rumor, the sources said Apple will take delivery of a trial run of SoCs built on the firm's 20nm process in early 2013.