Samsung still reportedly supplying 40% of Apple A8 chips for iPhone 6 & 6 Plus

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2014
Though Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is handling the lion's share of building A8 chips for Apple's latest iPhones, longtime partner Samsung is still reportedly a major contributor, accounting for an estimated 40 percent of production.




Samsung's apparent share of Apple's A8 business was revealed by IHS to Re/code, as part of a list of the estimated cost of components in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The research firm believes the new A8 chip, which is 13 percent smaller than its predecessor, has a total manufacturing cost of $20, or about $3 more than the A7.

While the A8 isn't a particular significant step up from its immediate predecessor in terms of performance, Apple did take a "cutting edge" approach, in the words of Andrew Rassweiler of IHS, in designing a new, smaller 20-nanometer design for its custom processor. Building a smaller processor allows Apple to increase efficiency, which helps to improve battery life.

IHS pegs the total cost of parts and labor to build an iPhone 6 at between $200 and $247, while the iPhone 6 Plus is given a range of $216 for the 16-gigabyte model to $263 for the high-end 128-gigabyte capacity.

Of course, those estimates do not include research, development and other costly endeavors required by Apple to bring a final product to market.


iPhone 6 Plus teardown. | Source: iFixit


IHS believes the most expensive component of Apple's latest iPhones is the display, estimated to cost $45 on the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and $52.50 for the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus and its greater pixel density. Screen suppliers are said to be LG Display and Japan Display.

Both screens are a step up from the 4-inch display on last year's iPhone 5s, which was estimated to cost about $41.

TSMC was first confirmed as a manufacturer of Apple's 20-nanometer A8 processor once the handset began finding its way into enthusiasts' hands last week. It was also found that the new iPhones include an unannounced NFC controller made by NXP that dates back to 2012, which suggests Apple has had access to the silicon for at least 18 months.

Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus feature major component redesigns over last year's iPhone models, necessitated by a new and thinner-than-ever form factor. Both models still sport larger batteries than last year's model, however, thanks to more space overall with larger displays.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    BOO! I don't want any Samdung in my iPhone. There has to be a way to tell for certain.
  • Reply 2 of 50

    TC careful as ever. As much as I would have liked him to dump Samsung for good, I guess he did the right thing.

  • Reply 3 of 50
    Boooooooo.
  • Reply 4 of 50
    The schadenfreude in the other thread was more fun
  • Reply 5 of 50
    It must be embarrassing to be outspending the competition in advertising and steal their designs but still get your butt handed to you because they sell more phones than you. And you help them by making parts. Parts pantented that you cannot put in your high resource requiring android phone.
  • Reply 6 of 50
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post



    BOO! I don't want any Samdung in my iPhone. There has to be a way to tell for certain.

    Could always open it up and take a gander.  :D

  • Reply 7 of 50

    Either way, I am glad to own an iphone 6 right now.  Perhaps we should thank Samsung for making this possible along with apple now supporting larger screen iphones.  I would've skipped the upgrade if it weren't for the larger screen.  This is a great example and study case of corporate competitions benefiting the consumers, where both companies are challenging each other for the technical excellence.

     

    BTW, I've only own iphones & ipads.  Only thing Sammy in my house is a large screen TV.

  • Reply 8 of 50
    Fascinating… I wonder if any other chip designer uses two foundries at the same time for the same chip. I kind of doubt it given the large investment of time and money to tailor a design to a particular foundry's process.

    This means that Apple has the foundries competing for its business in a way that no other chip designer does. Everyone else has to deal with a certain amount of lock in with their foundry partner.
  • Reply 9 of 50
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,932member

    Oh, well, a 60% loss to Samsung is a good start.

     

    The display costs might be way off. Rumors were that the failure rate on making the 5.5" displays was particularly high, far higher than its proportional increase in size.

  • Reply 10 of 50

    Not surprised!  

    But, actually I was surprised couple of days back for TSMC was in full swing making A8.  

  • Reply 11 of 50
    Quote:



    Originally Posted by bitemymac View Post

     

    Either way, I am glad to own an iphone 6 right now.  Perhaps we should thank Samsung for making this possible along with apple now supporting larger screen iphones.  I would've skipped the upgrade if it weren't for the larger screen.  This is a great example and study case of corporate competitions benefiting the consumers, where both companies are challenging each other for the technical excellence.

     

    BTW, I've only own iphones & ipads.  Only thing Sammy in my house is a large screen TV.


     

    You are therefore permanently banned from AppleInsider.  <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

  • Reply 12 of 50
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bitemymac View Post

     

    Either way, I am glad to own an iphone 6 right now.  Perhaps we should thank Samsung for making this possible along with apple now supporting larger screen iphones.  I would've skipped the upgrade if it weren't for the larger screen.  This is a great example and study case of corporate competitions benefiting the consumers, where both companies are challenging each other for the technical excellence.

     

    BTW, I've only own iphones & ipads.  Only thing Sammy in my house is a large screen TV.


    check my twitter I have already thanked them. 

  • Reply 13 of 50

    I like the idea. Samsung A8 is made in the USA. They pay US taxes, Texas taxes, support American jobs, and keep chipmaker expertise here in the USA. They also must comply with US environmental regulations. I don't care who owns the factory, it is better for the USA that they are made here. I wish more parts could be made here.

  • Reply 14 of 50
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ibeam View Post

     

    I like the idea. Samsung A8 is made in the USA. They pay US taxes, Texas taxes, support American jobs, and keep chipmaker expertise here in the USA. They also must comply with US environmental regulations. I don't care who owns the factory, it is better for the USA that they are made here. I wish more parts could be made here.


    I agree.  I wouldn't mind paying a little premium for "made in USA" apple products.

  • Reply 15 of 50

    Just want to express my true feeling .... so pardon my French! :smokey: 

     

    F**K!!

  • Reply 16 of 50
    No other company designs 2 different designs of the same chip.
    Apple cant take the A8 designs from TSMC and just have Samsung start to manufacture them. No: Apple needs to do a different design/tapeout/validation and so on.

    So its hightly unlikley that this will happen.

    More likely is this:
    Samsung get to manufacture A8X for iPad continue to manufacture A7. Maybe even a 20nm A7 for AppleTV take4.

    A bit of topic: Apple should have bought a foundry instead of burning 50 billions on buying its own shares and burn them. IBM sold its plant recently.
    With an own foundry Apple could control its destiny totally.


    Apple should also buy Nvidia since Apple cant buy PowerVR/Img. Nvidias ARM GPU is almost twice as fast as A8 6core PowerVR. Nvidia also have the best workstation GPUs (for macPro), fastest desktop GPUs (for iMacs) and fast laptop GPUs. Would fit Apple perfect beside that Nvidias CEO would demand a role at Apple.
  • Reply 17 of 50
    Hopefully, Apple products will be Samsung free within a couple years...if not sooner.
  • Reply 18 of 50
    I'm going to return my iPhone immediately, I don't want no fricking Samsung part in it.
  • Reply 19 of 50
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rabbit_Coach View Post

     

    TC careful as ever. As much as I would have liked him to dump Samsung for good, I guess he did the right thing.




    you want to keep your suppliers hungry.

     

    Think of this benching your star, but lazy, player.   "you'll get minutes when TSMC is tired"

     

    If Samsung can cut another 1-5% off their unit price (or increase yield, or have better quality numbers), then they get 60% on the A9... Then TSMC decides if they can undercut that by 5-10% on the A10.

     

    You guys play this as a revenge play.  It's not.

    It's:

    "Business. Always Business."  (The Greek (who's not Greek): The Wire)

  • Reply 20 of 50
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post



    Fascinating… I wonder if any other chip designer uses two foundries at the same time for the same chip. I kind of doubt it given the large investment of time and money to tailor a design to a particular foundry's process.



    This means that Apple has the foundries competing for its business in a way that no other chip designer does. Everyone else has to deal with a certain amount of lock in with their foundry partner.

     

    Almost every major designer of chips does.  An exception might be intel, but nvidia and qualcom certainly do- qualcom even uses Samsung and they are probably even worse enemies than Apple.  Its a shell game industry and everyone averts risk because supply issues do happen.  A good number of manufacturers also offload capacity.  I think Samsung was at one point around 30-40% offloaded.  That way even if Apple were to cancel its contract, Samsung would just move its offloaded stuff in house and maintain 100% capacity-its the smalltimers that would take the brunt of the impact.   None of the other companies have armies of 'enthusiastic' fans, so they just do it with less drama than Apple.

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