Apple rumored to move production of custom 'A6' chip away from Samsung in 2012

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple is rumored to further distance itself from its rival Samsung starting with the "A6" chip in 2012, when the iPhone maker will allegedly transition production of its custom ARM chips to a new chipmaker.



Citing "numerous sources in the semiconductor industry," Ars Technica reported on Monday that Apple is likely to tap Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company to build its next-generation "A6" chip in 2012. Author Chris Foresman characterized chatter about a deal between Apple and TSMC as "deafening."



"It seems likely that Apple is making the change to cut some, if not all, Samsung-made components out of its supply chain," the report said.



The claims come days after a separate report out of China's Commercial Times also pointed to TSMC as a likely partner for production of Apple's anticipated A6 chip in 2012.



The current A5 processor found in the iPad 2 is built on a 45nm process by Samsung. But Apple and TSMC are rumored to build the next-generation A6 ARM CPU based on a 28nm process.



Apple's desire to move away from Samsung stems largely from the fact that the two companies are engaged in a series of lawsuits against one another. Apple has accused Samsung of copying the look and feel of the iPhone, iPad and the iOS mobile operating system, while Samsung has sued Apple and accused it of patent infringement.



The growing legal battle makes for an uneasy situation between the two companies, as the success of the iPhone and iPad has made Apple the largest customer of Samsung. Apple is expected to buy some $7.8 billion in components from Samsung this year.







Rumors of a partnership between Apple and TSMC are not new. Back in March, it was claimed that Apple could align with TSMC on an even faster timetable, having the company produce A5 chips for the iPad 2 and anticipated fifth-generation iPhone.



Earlier rumors suggested that Apple and TSMC had already entered into a foundry agreement, though Monday's report suggests that such a deal was not reached. But both reports also noted that Apple's interest in TSMC is at least partially a result of the fact that there are few options for system-on-a-chip fabrication outside of Samsung.



In May, it was suggested that Intel has shown interest in producing Apple's mobile chips like the A5. Ars characterized that development as a "remote possibility," only if Apple could combine its low-power custom ARM designs with Intels' new three-dimensional 22nm transistor process.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 67
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,803member
    An Intel partnership would be great technologically, but I suspect that it would be hard for them to come to an agreement on pricing, at least for now. In a few years, though, Intel might be in a weaker negotiating position and things could change. Of course, by then, Intel's technological lead over foundries like TSMC might not be as great, either.



    As for Samsung, i can see why they think it makes more sense to favor their own line of Android devices over the business they get from Apple for components. But I suspect that they will ultimately regret that choice.
  • Reply 2 of 67
    boogabooga Posts: 1,071member
    Aren't most of the displays from Samsung as well?
  • Reply 3 of 67
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,544member
    I suppose the rule of thumb here is don't get on Steves bad side.



    A deal like this would be very lucrative for any of Samsungs fab competition.
  • Reply 4 of 67
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,029member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joseph L View Post


    Samsung just copies Steve and rips him off. Why should he give them his business?



    I'll be glad to know my new shiny Apple product has ZERO Samsung components.



    Ah come on, everyone copies everyone especially in the IT industry.



    Apple is sorting out their complaints in court as is their right, none the less their relationship with Samsung as a component supplier has been mutually benefitial and will likely continue.



    Samsung is a huge organisation with multiple seperate departments and divisions.



    Just because I don't like the lady that serves the tea in the office does not mean that I'm going to avoid any product that has association with Kenco!
  • Reply 5 of 67
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Pulling your business is how Apple can hit Samsung hardest.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by saarek View Post


    Ah come on, everyone copies everyone especially in the IT industry.



    He's trolling; best to ignore him.
  • Reply 6 of 67
    I agree. Samsung makes displays and chips so they may think they can produce a device for lower cost and capture part of the market. However, judging by the track record of other tablets and the fact that android is fragmented and the marketplace isn't nearly as successful as the App Store, you'd think people would prefer a long-term device line up and innovative platform like iOS. I highly doubt Samsung will make billions in revenue to replace losing Apple's component business. Well, you can't win if you don't take risks. Problem is everyone wants Apples business (if they can handle the volume and speedy tech advances)
  • Reply 7 of 67
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,169member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Pulling your business is how Apple can hit Samsung hardest.









    He's trolling; best to ignore him.



    I wonder how Samsung's profits from Galaxy Tabs etc. compare to what they will lose from Apple's business.
  • Reply 8 of 67
    igazzaigazza Posts: 8member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Booga View Post


    Aren't most of the displays from Samsung as well?



    yes, Samsung or LG
  • Reply 9 of 67
    island hermitisland hermit Posts: 6,217member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    I wonder how Samsung's profits from Galaxy Tabs etc. compare to what they will lose from Apple's business.



    Profits?!
  • Reply 10 of 67
    A6 chip... There goes another un-announced Apple product that Samsung won't get to see in advance
  • Reply 11 of 67
    gprovidagprovida Posts: 244member
    Its a complicated business world and Apple is a very hard nosed supply buyer. They demand performance, quality, cost, responsiveness, secrecy, etc., and so they will change vendors. Could the law suits be playing a role, maybe, but the evidence is weak, correlation is NOT causation.
  • Reply 12 of 67
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,539member
    Just going from 45nm to 28nm would make the move worthwhile if the capacity and reliability (yield) were there, assuming that Samsung isn't likely to get to 28nm soon.



    I would guess too, not knowing of course, that business divisions are such within Samsung, that there would be some pretty annoyed executives in the chip and display divisions if Apple moved just because of legal trouble between Apple and some mini-titan in the mobile devices division. \



    All the best.
  • Reply 13 of 67
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,169member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by island hermit View Post


    Profits?!



    Numbers can be negative you know But OK the mathematical difference between where they would have been and where it looks like they'll end up having not played nice with such a major client as Apple.
  • Reply 14 of 67
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,169member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gprovida View Post


    Its a complicated business world and Apple is a very hard nosed supply buyer. They demand performance, quality, cost, responsiveness, secrecy, etc., and so they will change vendors. Could the law suits be playing a role, maybe, but the evidence is weak, correlation is NOT causation.



    I recall a certain video graphic board maker that pissed off Steve a while back and the results. Perhaps those suspecting Samsung are getting a smack on the back of the head remember that too hence the suspicion of causation.
  • Reply 15 of 67
    stevetimstevetim Posts: 482member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple is expected to buy some $7.8 billion in components from Samsung this year.



    8 bil is not chump change. You would think they would want to play ball with apple.
  • Reply 16 of 67
    asciiascii Posts: 5,513member
    I'm sure Intel could get the contract if they tried hard enough.
  • Reply 17 of 67
    The guys at the mobile device division must be in great trouble cause one thing is have a legal battle that can be costly but another is lose the parts business that has good profits and greater margin cause the volume compared to the mobile devices. Just a rumor like that should hit hard samsung stock. Right now they are on RED 2.0% bellow (Samsung Electronics Korea)
  • Reply 18 of 67
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,162member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post


    An Intel partnership would be great technologically,



    But then folks would want to have Mac OS in the devices, especially the ipad, so they could be used like a real computer. Which Apple doesn't want.



    As for this company change rumor, I think it is partially correct. I think that Apple is talking to another supplier. To compliment what they would get from Samsung. Component shortages are a major reason for unit shortages. Plus the March earthquake may have given them a lesson in the dangers of all your eggs in one basket. So I think that Apple will spread the wealth a little and try to have several places creating what they need in order to have a better time table. And yes it has the bonus that if Samsung keeps up their legal games etc, it will be easier for them to phase out said company from the supply chain
  • Reply 19 of 67
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    Shoot, I actually enjoyed apple's dysfunctional relationship with Samsung. Apple had huge sway over samsung being their largest client, and samsung got to rip off some apple products. It was almost a win win.
  • Reply 20 of 67
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,172member
    Great rumour. I hope this is true.
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