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Rumor: Apple's expiring chip contract with Samsung will lead to TSMC-built 'A7' chips

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Apple's future "A7" chips for 2014's "iPhone 6" will be built by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. once the existing contract with Samsung expires, a new rumor claims.

Chips
All of Apple's iDevice chips to date have been manufactured by Samsung in Austin, Tex.


The details come from Taiwan's Economic Daily News, and were highlighted by Japanese blog Macotakara on Tuesday. The report claims that Apple plans to utilize a so-called "A7" processor built on a smaller 20-nanometer process next year.

That advanced chip is rumored to be built by TSMC, and not Samsung, Apple's longtime chip producing partner. Currently, Samsung is responsible for the fabrication of all of Apple's A-series chips to date, including the latest A6 chip in the iPhone, and the beefier A6X found in the fourth-generation iPad.

The rumor, if true, suggests that Apple's anticipated "iPhone 5S," a next-generation handset expected to debut this year, will not feature a full-fledged next-generation "A7" processor. Conversely, the report's anticipated branding of the chip could be incorrect, and TSMC could in fact be working on a 20-nanometer chip for Apple that could be known as an "A8," or something else entirely.

The company's first custom A-series chip, the A4, debuted in the first-generation iPad in 2010, and launched in the iPhone 4 later that year, while the A5 was introduced in the iPad 2 and later came to the iPhone 4S in 2011. Since then, new iPad models have had enhanced chips with an "X" moniker, like the A5X in the third-gen iPad and A6X in the fourth-gen model, while the A6 chip debuted last year in the iPhone 5.

TSMC officials have high hopes for their forthcoming 20-nanometer chip production process, as CEO Morris Chang has predicted the smaller chips, set to debut in 2014, will outsell the company's existing 28-nanometer chips in the first two years. That bullish belief has helped to fuel speculation that Apple plans to adopt TSMC's 20-nanometer chips for its iPhone and iPad starting next year.

Apple has long been rumored to be interested in switching its mobile chip manufacturing from Samsung to TSMC, but those predictions have yet to become a reality. Apple was once Samsung's largest customer, but the iPhone maker is said to be interested in removing Samsung from its supply chain as the two companies have become bitter rivals.
post #2 of 24

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post #3 of 24
And TSMC just announced that they finished the results of their partnership with ARM to bring the Cortex A57 on their latest process. Good time for Apple to move to TSMC.
post #4 of 24
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Originally Posted by RichL View Post

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post #5 of 24
I'm curious to see what Apple puts in the iPhone 5S.

I guess people would scream that Apple is doomed if they stick with the A6, but I think the A6 is a perfectly cromulent processor. I think it might make more sense to die shrink the A6 and improve battery life, unless there's some killer new feature in iOS7 that could really benefit from a faster SOC. As the phone stands now, though, there's nothing sluggish at all. Unlike with previous iPhones I've owned, it's hard for me to point to anything that would benefit from more CPU speed.
post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I'm curious to see what Apple puts in the iPhone 5S.

I guess people would scream that Apple is doomed if they stick with the A6, but I think the A6 is a perfectly cromulent processor. I think it might make more sense to die shrink the A6 and improve battery life, unless there's some killer new feature in iOS7 that could really benefit from a faster SOC. As the phone stands now, though, there's nothing sluggish at all. Unlike with previous iPhones I've owned, it's hard for me to point to anything that would benefit from more CPU speed.

But... But... But.... You must be lying or a fanboy. How can you say that we don't need faster/more/newer??? Android phones know the game. That's it, I'm ditching my iPhone 5 for Android. Apple is so behind. They don't get it...

(End of sarcasm)
post #7 of 24
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Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


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Perfect, thanks! :)

post #8 of 24
WS spin: Sammy declines to make Apple chips. Apple scrambling for new partner; Android winning for Samsung.
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwoloszynski View Post

And TSMC just announced that they finished the results of their partnership with ARM to bring the Cortex A57 on their latest process. Good time for Apple to move to TSMC.

If true (and I don't accept any of the endless rumors until there's a direct statement from one of the parties), there's more to the announcement than the surface benefits.

TMSC's 20 nm process is well ahead of Samsung. Since it's a new process, capacity will be limited. That has huge upside potential and huge downside potential.

On the downside, there's the risk that they couldn't produce the required number of components and Apple would have shortages.

On the upside, if they can produce enough to supply Apple, that would probably use up all of their supply - which means that there would be no 20 nm capacity left for Android vendors - forcing them to use a previous generation chip.

In reality, though, Apple would almost certainly not switch all of their purchases to a new, untested 20 nm process. They will undoubtedly continue to buy from Samsung for a while.
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post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by starbird73 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I'm curious to see what Apple puts in the iPhone 5S.

I guess people would scream that Apple is doomed if they stick with the A6, but I think the A6 is a perfectly cromulent processor. I think it might make more sense to die shrink the A6 and improve battery life, unless there's some killer new feature in iOS7 that could really benefit from a faster SOC. As the phone stands now, though, there's nothing sluggish at all. Unlike with previous iPhones I've owned, it's hard for me to point to anything that would benefit from more CPU speed.

But... But... But.... You must be lying or a fanboy. How can you say that we don't need faster/more/newer??? Android phones know the game. That's it, I'm ditching my iPhone 5 for Android. Apple is so behind. They don't get it...

(End of sarcasm)

Yeah... and the iOS UI is long in the toots!
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post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

WS spin: Sammy declines to make Apple chips. Apple scrambling for new partner; Android winning for Samsung.

Word has it that Sammy is developing the new Quisling OS...
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post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Yeah... and the iOS UI is long in the toots!

And getting its tail!
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Word has it that Sammy is developing the new Quisling OS...

Nah, that's just their new search app . . .
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I'm curious to see what Apple puts in the iPhone 5S.

I guess people would scream that Apple is doomed if they stick with the A6, but I think the A6 is a perfectly cromulent processor. I think it might make more sense to die shrink the A6 and improve battery life, unless there's some killer new feature in iOS7 that could really benefit from a faster SOC. As the phone stands now, though, there's nothing sluggish at all. Unlike with previous iPhones I've owned, it's hard for me to point to anything that would benefit from more CPU speed.

I find the current IOS fine on my phone.  A few tweaks here and there are always nice but I don't think that would require a more powerful processor.  A 20nm A6 should use less power though and would extend battery life.   IOS on the iPad though has lots of room for improvement so a more powerful processeor is likely needed there. On that note it's likely that iPhone and Tablet IOSs will soon start to diverge.

post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post
...
TMSC's 20 nm process is well ahead of Samsung.
...

 

Definitely Not True.  TSMC at last joined 16nm FinFET.  All the other major FABs have done that last year or two.

And this does not even mean that TSMC has the capacity to mass produce as Samsung does.

The real question is what is the yield for TSMC.

 

SOURCE: http://sammyhub.com/2012/12/21/samsung-successfully-tapes-out-14nm-based-test-chips/


Edited by Loptimist - 4/2/13 at 7:43am
post #16 of 24

This is funny.. Since when TSMC was the best production for SOC? Bad move for Apple I think.

 

TSMC.. Notoriously can not met their promise. nVidia, AMD all crash and burn because TSMC.

By the way TSMC partially shut down current earthquake.. Are they come back 100% from that?

And "TSMC officials have high hopes for their forthcoming 20-nanometer chip production process" means it is not up and running yet..

Good luck Apple.

post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

WS spin: Sammy declines to make Apple chips. Apple scrambling for new partner; Android winning for Samsung.
That's interesting how. Apple has been systematically moving their business to other companies for over a year, then two months after a leak about Apple moving their chip business too Samsung suddenly announces "THEY" will stop making Apple chips. Really?!
post #18 of 24
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Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


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post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loptimist View Post

Definitely Not True.  TSMC at last joined 16nm FinFET.  All the other major FABs have done that last year or two.
And this does not even mean that TSMC has the capacity to mass produce as Samsung does.
The real question is what is the yield for TSMC.

SOURCE: http://sammyhub.com/2012/12/21/samsung-successfully-tapes-out-14nm-based-test-chips/

In part, the contract with Apple is what enabled Samsung to do so. Apple spent billions of dollars in advance to ensure that Samsung could deliver. Now, Apple is spending all that money on TSMC.
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post


In part, the contract with Apple is what enabled Samsung to do so. Apple spent billions of dollars in advance to ensure that Samsung could deliver. Now, Apple is spending all that money on TSMC.

Seriously??

 

If I am not mistaken, and I don't think I am wrong here, Apple is one of the buyers who would cut the profit margin for Samsung almost to its marginal cost.  I doubt that Apple has contributed anything to Samsung's manufacturing techniques and capacity.  

 

After all, if there were any other alternative, Apple would have gone to that given their general hostility against Samsung's retail mobile phones.  The fact that Apple spent billions of dollars in advance was to ensure that they get the first batches of chipsets from Samsung at a low price, nothing more.

post #21 of 24
Yours is only one point of view, from my perspective Apple has a very long ways to go performance wise. Ideally what I'd want is an iPhone fast enough that it could power a desktop like experience plugged into a dock.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I'm curious to see what Apple puts in the iPhone 5S.
The new Apple TV chip hints at the possibilities here. They may skip the process shrink for the vastly improved core sizes rafter the architecture overhaul. A7 could very well run on the same Samsung 28/32nm tech it currently used.
Quote:
I guess people would scream that Apple is doomed if they stick with the A6, but I think the A6 is a perfectly cromulent processor.
Actually it sucks! It isn't 64 bit and frankly if you look at performance per watt even some Intel hardware does better.
Quote:
I think it might make more sense to die shrink the A6 and improve battery life, unless there's some killer new feature in iOS7 that could really benefit from a faster SOC. As the phone stands now, though, there's nothing sluggish at all. Unlike with previous iPhones I've owned, it's hard for me to point to anything that would benefit from more CPU speed.
Actually I'm more concerned about tablet performance myself. Even so iphone could use a performance boost. Apple could double tablet performance across the board and it still wouldn't be fast enough for me. I suspect the majority of people feel the same way, especially as software becomes more and more flexible and feature filled on iOS.
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post

In part, the contract with Apple is what enabled Samsung to do so. Apple spent billions of dollars in advance to ensure that Samsung could deliver. Now, Apple is spending all that money on TSMC.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loptimist View Post

Seriously??

If I am not mistaken, and I don't think I am wrong here, Apple is one of the buyers who would cut the profit margin for Samsung almost to its marginal cost.  I doubt that Apple has contributed anything to Samsung's manufacturing techniques and capacity.  

After all, if there were any other alternative, Apple would have gone to that given their general hostility against Samsung's retail mobile phones.  The fact that Apple spent billions of dollars in advance was to ensure that they get the first batches of chipsets from Samsung at a low price, nothing more.

What do you not understand?
post #23 of 24
They forgot a6x
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post



What do you not understand?

 

Where is your evidence that Apple paid anything in advance to help Samsung deliver? 

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