All of Apple's iDevice chips to date have been manufactured by Samsung in Austin, Tex.
Apple's so-called "A7" processor will debut in the first half of 2014, and development for the chip is underway, according to a new report Wednesday by The Korea Times. But Samsung is said to not be a part of that development process, as Apple has apparently turned to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. for assistance.
Apple has been using custom designs for its iPhone and iPad chips for years, but to date the production of those chips has been handled entirely by Samsung. Rumors have persisted that Apple plans to cut Samsung out of its chipmaking business, but Apple's latest iPhone and iPad models still feature chips built by Samsung.
Samsung is said to be planning to grow its business partnerships with Nvidia in an effort to offset any losses it will experience in the departure of Apple as a customer.
The chipmaking division at Samsung is also expected to see growth from the sale of Samsung's own Galaxy handsets, which use custom Exynos-branded ARM chips. That includes the flagship Galaxy S4, which is set to debut this month.
Wednesday's report is just the latest in a series of claims that Apple is planning a shift in the near future to TSMC for its mobile chip production. While such rumors have persisted for years, Samsung continues to benefit from its intact partnerships with Apple.
An "A7" chip was also pegged as a transition product from Samsung to TSMC in a separate report earlier this month from Taiwan's Economic Daily News. That report also claimed that the "A7" would debut in 2014, and added that the chip will be built on a smaller, more efficient 20-nanometer process.
The naming conventions cited in the rumors suggest that Apple's anticipated 2013 iPhone model, the so-called "iPhone 5S," will not feature a full-fledged next-generation "A7" processor. Apple's latest generation of mobile processors debuted in the iPhone 5 with the A6, while the beefed-up A6X was introduced with the fourth-generation iPad.