Apple to stick with Samsung for A8 chip, final manufacturing prep underway - report

Posted:
in iPhone edited March 2014
Contrary to recent rumors, Samsung has won the contract to produce Apple's next-generation A-series processor and will do so at the same Texas facility that churns out the 64-bit A7 at the heart of the iPhone 5s and iPad Air, according to a new report from South Korea.

Samsung
Samsung's Austin, Texas semiconductor plant


An unnamed Samsung official told ZDNet Korea that a manufacturing agreement has already been signed and that engineers from both companies are working together to ramp up production. Shipments of the so-called "A8" will reportedly begin this fall, around the same time that many expect Apple to unveil new models of its mobile devices.

Apple's relationship with Samsung has been strained in recent years as the two companies are increasingly at each other's throat both in stores and in the courtroom. Samsung's position as the contract foundry for Apple's closely-guarded A-series processors, arguably the most important component in the company's top-selling iOS devices, is believed to be especially tenuous.

Taipei, Taiwan-based foundry TSMC -- which already makes other, less high-profile chips for Apple -- has been repeatedly tabbed as Samsung's successor for A-series chip production. As recently as last week, reports suggested that TSMC had taken over "most" of the orders for the A8, leaving Samsung as a secondary supplier.

This would not be the first time TSMC has been linked to Apple's flagship silicon, only to have Samsung retain the contract. Rumors pointed in TSMC's direction for both the A6X and A7 processors, and each of those chips eventually rolled off of Samsung's Austin, Texas production line.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 64
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,671member
    Doesn't matter; they never saw the co-processor for the Touch ID coming, nor do they appear to have any knowledge on the 64-bit CPU in advance. Better for Apple to setup their own CPU fab, test it and implement only when they are ready. And no, Samsung won't feel much [S]if[/S] when Apple take their CPU orders away from them.
  • Reply 2 of 64
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    ‘Kay.

     

    Why has no one been fired over this?

    Why has no one been investigated over this?

    Why have we seen no punishment done to anyone?

     

    Why is TSMC allowed to keep explicitly lying to boost their stock? 

  • Reply 3 of 64
    pscooter63pscooter63 Posts: 1,059member
    Politics has *nothing* on tech, as Strange Bedfellows go...
  • Reply 4 of 64
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,022member
    It sounds like Samsung just bends over further than TSMC. The only way Apple will stay is if the pricing is extremely better, or they ran into some technical issues with TSMC.

    With all the margin pressures apple is seeing price would be king. It will be interesting if Apple began moving away from Intel on the MacBook to the A8, now that it is 64 bit.
  • Reply 5 of 64
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Maybe they will...maybe they won't. Frankly, whatever works best is what must be done.
  • Reply 6 of 64
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    I'm holding out for the 256-bit A9...
  • Reply 7 of 64
    seanie248seanie248 Posts: 178member
    "Shipments of the so-called "A8" will reportedly begin this fall, around the same time that many expect Apple to unveil new models of its mobile devices"

    sure, they will ship just at the same time, giving Foxconn PLENTY of time to put the actual chip into the phone on the assembly line. What utter shite.
    I've heard of amazing JIT stock management in my day, but this is just another level.

    Does anybody writing(copy/pasting) this not stop and think for 1 sec and go "hmm my common senses are tingling" ?

    regarding why Apple stay with Samsung, 1 main reason could be term of contract negotiated years ago. Possibly?
  • Reply 8 of 64
    hattighattig Posts: 858member

    Maybe the plan is to sell the Samsung manufactured A8s in the USA, because that is one more component built in the USA, and Apple does like to emphasise that whenever it can.  The TSMC A8s could be used for the rest of the world's devices.

     

    The processes are different, even if they're both going to be 20nm, so one fab will produce faster chips than the other (or alternatively, one fab will produce lower power chips), so that may determine where a chip goes.

  • Reply 9 of 64
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,678member
    seanie248 wrote: »
    "Shipments of the so-called "A8" will reportedly begin this fall, around the same time that many expect Apple to unveil new models of its mobile devices"

    sure, they will ship just at the same time, giving Foxconn PLENTY of time to put the actual chip into the phone on the assembly line. What utter shite.
    I've heard of amazing JIT stock management in my day, but this is just another level.

    Does anybody writing(copy/pasting) this not stop and think for 1 sec and go "hmm my common senses are tingling" ?

    regarding why Apple stay with Samsung, 1 main reason could be term of contract negotiated years ago. Possibly?

    Probably not. They hardly entered into a 7-8 year contract. It's all about ability to scale.

    If Apple want to move away from S it should look at intel.
  • Reply 10 of 64
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,111member
    Samsung owns over 38,000 patents, most of which apply to manufacturing processes. They probably go apeshit and toss lawyers at anyone who uses one of their processes, yet they feel entitled to the patents of others.
  • Reply 11 of 64
    jonoromjonorom Posts: 293member
    maestro64 wrote: »
    It sounds like Samsung just bends over further than TSMC. The only way Apple will stay is if the pricing is extremely better, or they ran into some technical issues with TSMC.

    With all the margin pressures apple is seeing price would be king. It will be interesting if Apple began moving away from Intel on the MacBook to the A8, now that it is 64 bit.

    A new manufacturer. A new design. A new process. 250M+ CPUs needed in the next 12 months or Apple nearly disappears as a company. And Apple will save maybe $10 on the BOM if they go with TSMC.

    No news here, move along.

    Note, the NeXT(!) Apple device may very well use TSMC. A gaming-capable iTV processor would be perfect - low volumes, next gen tech, etc.
  • Reply 12 of 64
    Earlier this morning I skipped an article by trusted CNBC about TSMC starting to make A8 chips. After reading the above article, I decided to watch the CNBC video.

    Guess what? The reporter, Stephen Pelayo, started the video with, "Apple's coming to TSMC for the next advanced technology node, which is called 20 nanometer." Not once did he or other the reporters in the video mention iPhone.

    CNBC's written video blurb states, "TSMC has started producing A8 chips for the next generation Apple iPhone 6."

    So, is TSMC the problem or are reporters jumping to unsubstantiated conclusions? This is just one instance. Taking more time to collect information is not worth my time at the moment.
  • Reply 13 of 64

    Disappointing that it is taking Apple so long to extricate itself from this lying, thieving, cheating scumbag of a company.

  • Reply 14 of 64
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,723member

    Just because a reported Samsung official says they still are building the A8 doesn't mean they are or that TSMC isn't. Who do you believe, Samsung or TSMC? Everything related to the A8 has been rumors and until it's actually built, we won't know for sure and even then we might not know everything about who and where it's being manufactured.

  • Reply 15 of 64
    jj.yuanjj.yuan Posts: 212member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by JONOROM View Post

    Note, the NeXT(!) Apple device may very well use TSMC. A gaming-capable iTV processor would be perfect - low volumes, next gen tech, etc.

    We can speculate that chips for Apple's wearables may come from TSMC or even Intel, if the price is right.

  • Reply 16 of 64
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by seanie248 View Post



    sure, they will ship just at the same time, giving Foxconn PLENTY of time to put the actual chip into the phone on the assembly line. What utter shite.

    I've heard of amazing JIT stock management in my day, but this is just another level.



    Does anybody writing(copy/pasting) this not stop and think for 1 sec and go "hmm my common senses are tingling" ?

     

    "Fall" is 3 months long, and Apple usually waits about a month between introducing an iPhone and shipping. Maybe you need to readjust your own "common senses," because that doesn't seem out of line to me. 

  • Reply 17 of 64
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post



    Earlier this morning I skipped an article by trusted CNBC about TSMC starting to make A8 chips. After reading the above article, I decided to watch the CNBC video.



    Guess what? The reporter, Stephen Pelayo, started the video with, "Apple's coming to TSMC for the next advanced technology node, which is called 20 nanometer." Not once did he or other the reporters in the video mention iPhone.



    CNBC's written video blurb states, "TSMC has started producing A8 chips for the next generation Apple iPhone 6."



    So, is TSMC the problem or are reporters jumping to unsubstantiated conclusions? This is just one instance. Taking more time to collect information is not worth my time at the moment.

     

    It's not worth the reporters time either. The CNBC reporter probably was quoting another source, without calling anyone.

     

    And I feel like after reading this here, I should toss a coin to decide of Samsung or TSMC is producing the chip. It would make sense if it were an issue of scale and Apple had no choice. But my confidence is not high in the sources yet.

  • Reply 18 of 64
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Maybe they will...maybe they won't. Frankly, whatever works best is what must be done.

    I'm with you. I honestly don't care who they choose because I trust Apple to chose the best option available.
  • Reply 19 of 64
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,428member
    maestro64 wrote: »
    It sounds like Samsung just bends over further than TSMC. The only way Apple will stay is if the pricing is extremely better, or they ran into some technical issues with TSMC.

    With all the margin pressures apple is seeing price would be king. It will be interesting if Apple began moving away from Intel on the MacBook to the A8, now that it is 64 bit.

    I hope they bent over so far the shaft came well out the other end.
  • Reply 20 of 64
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post



    Earlier this morning I skipped an article by trusted CNBC about TSMC starting to make A8 chips. After reading the above article, I decided to watch the CNBC video.



    Guess what? The reporter, Stephen Pelayo, started the video with, "Apple's coming to TSMC for the next advanced technology node, which is called 20 nanometer." Not once did he or other the reporters in the video mention iPhone.



    CNBC's written video blurb states, "TSMC has started producing A8 chips for the next generation Apple iPhone 6."



    So, is TSMC the problem or are reporters jumping to unsubstantiated conclusions? This is just one instance. Taking more time to collect information is not worth my time at the moment.

    I'd say you are jumping to unsubstantiated conclusions by calling them reporters ;) So yes I'm sure it's not TSMC, rather someone at the network saw something about apple and TSMC that was probably published about six months ago and was so eager to jump on the Apple wagon they didn't bother to actually look into the story. I'm guessing this due to the title "Apple's coming to TSMC for the next advanced technology node, which is called 20 nanometer." which attempts to cram any buzzword they could find about chip production into it.

     

    I would skip any article dealing with technology being published by any of the major news networks. You'd be much better severed by actual tech sites like AI, AnandTech, Tomshardware, etc.

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