I think that Apple will have no other choice but to buy its way into the fab business. Production volume is getting too massive. Apple is at a f*cked if you do, f*cked if you don't crossroads. Chip fab is the weak link in Apple's chain. Will Apple ever get what it really needs from another manufacturer? I doubt it. At the very least Apple needs more control over the fab plant and its not going to get it unless it buys the plant.
This aint your Grandpa's Apple...
I can't go with that. It's a very complex business. Just because you think Apple needs to do this doesn't mean that they can do this. Even Intel is finding it difficult to invest in new fabs by themselves. It's thought that the next generation may cost close to $12 billion a pop. You haven't given a cogent reason why they should do this.
There are a number of companies with decades of experience in building and running fabs. Apple has none. Even those companies have problems meeting their standards. TSMC often has problems, and runs behind with every new process technology. Look to the problems Nvidia and ATI have had over the years. Golbal foundries is worse. IBM is pretty good, but doesn't have the production capability. Intel is the best, and can do whatever they need to.
Apple pays suppliers billions every year to upgrade plant and equipment, hire and train workers, and buy equipment for their own use. It's believed that they recently made a $1 billion payment to TSMC. TSMC has been getting better at meeting schedules, and is the largest independent fab out there. It's believed that they could devote one or two fabs for Apple production.
It would be insane for Apple to go this alone.
Even Samsung buys SoC's from other companies for their own devices. Apple's biggest bottlenecks are in displays. So you might as well say that they should build their own plants for that as well. And what about cases? They've had problems with those too.
By not building those by themselves, they have saved billions of dollars. They don't need to deal with plant and infrastructure. They don't have to deal with the workers. They don't have to deal with old equipment and breakdowns. I could go on. This saves them a lot of headaches. Being vertically integrated is a problem. Let others have that problem