Rumor: Apple taps rival Samsung to build majority of A-series chips starting next year

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  • Reply 21 of 57
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

     

     

     

    I'm with Falcon here.  Only if there are no other possibilities do you use Samsung.  Why give them a supportive arm of their business to help prop up their fledging problems.  A world with no Samsung is a better world.  There are plenty of good companies- or should I just simple say, not despicable, companies- out there that can step up and fill in Samsung's shoes in every division- from Semiconductors to Washing Machines.




    I think you have to realize that Apple is now in that rarified air that unless you're a top 5 chip maker, to hit apple's quality/timeline/quantity deadlines, it's a high risk business, where Apple drives the deal. (See GTAT).

     

    And Apple is all about competition for it's business.  I'm sure it's been shopping this offering between TMSC, Intel, and Samsung for a few months.   The fact that TMSC is a player now, gives the others incentive to lower their profit margins to gain a lion's share of the production volume.

     

    Samsung the chip manufacturer, is not Samsung the mobile device maker.  

     

    And sometimes you have to make alliances that are good for business

    .

  • Reply 22 of 57
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RonMG View Post

     

     

    Exactly. I see Apple working with TSMC as leverage to force Samsung to be more price competitive. But, if Samsung is the better company so far as quality and capability in manufacturing Apple's A-Series, then Apple should source them primarily. I hate Samsung as much as the next person, probably more-so, but I also want the best quality and reliability in my iPhones, iPads, etc. You get that with Samsung components, and that's OK - so long as Apple isn't overpaying for that quality/reliability (and so long as they have a second source with TSMC, Samsung cannot overcharge). No matter the billions in components that Apple commits to buying from Samsung, it will not save their smartphone business.


    all good points, and I agree.  Apple will continually play the top players against each other for pricing and risk aversion advantage.  

     

    Apple gets TSMC to be the primary this year for XX/chip and a max run of chips (as many as you can make which has to be >> than projected device sales).  Samsung is the 2ndary and produces chips for the first 4 months at XX+YY/chip, but at a limited run, with options to extend if TSMC fails to deliver, or demand is greater  than expected.

     

    At the end, Apple rebids for the next line.  Samsung bids at XX-ZZ/chip, and if they win, they immediately retool, and TSMC owns the legacy chip development (batch runs until all products using the chip are off the market). Or visa versa.   In the end, Apple is driving down chip costs, and keeping both short and long term risk at a minimum.

     

    I do think that Intel is given an opportunity to bid, but can't get the profit margin high enough to support their internal numbers.

     

    And the Chip design in Samsung's hands has to be walled off from Samsung Mobile.  If not, No other contract chip designer would use a Samsung foundry...

     

    And even if the design leaked, without the iOS code, and the rest of the iPhone/Pad design, it would just be another tweaked ARM chip, relatively useless until after the product is released (and at that point, you could buy it for $700... a lot lower risk than a multiBillion lawsuit and harmful impacts from other customers backing out).

  • Reply 23 of 57
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,043member

    Here is the issue here, unless both Samsung and TSMC both have the same processes this is not a trivial thing, It would required lots of work on Apple part to support to different processors Litho technologies in a single product platform. If Apple is stitching back that mean it is for a different product altogether. Processors for two different fabs running different Litho technologies will perform differently and may required tweaks to the design to make them work and may also need different version of the OS as well, I do not thing Apple would take on this level of complexity.

  • Reply 24 of 57
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

     

     

     

    I'm with Falcon here.  Only if there are no other possibilities do you use Samsung.  Why give them a supportive arm of their business to help prop up their fledging problems.  A world with no Samsung is a better world.  There are plenty of good companies- or should I just simple say, not despicable, companies- out there that can step up and fill in Samsung's shoes in every division- from Semiconductors to Washing Machines.


     

    Did you send Tim an email to let him know this?

  • Reply 25 of 57
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post

     



    I think you have to realize that Apple is now in that rarified air that unless you're a top 5 chip maker, to hit apple's quality/timeline/quantity deadlines, it's a high risk business, where Apple drives the deal. (See GTAT).

     

    And Apple is all about competition for it's business.  I'm sure it's been shopping this offering between TMSC, Intel, and Samsung for a few months.   The fact that TMSC is a player now, gives the others incentive to lower their profit margins to gain a lion's share of the production volume.

     

    Samsung the chip manufacturer, is not Samsung the mobile device maker.  

     

    And sometimes you have to make alliances that are good for business.


     

    I'm with TheOtherGeoff here.

  • Reply 26 of 57
    thttht Posts: 5,550member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     

    Broadwell's going to essentially be skipped for Skylake. They'll release a few Broadwell chips, but Intel's reported to be continuing with the Skylake launch this summer.


     

    I'm just waiting for the inevitable other shoe to drop when Intel announces that Skylake slips to 1H 2016. I don't know if this will happen, and maybe Intel will just short-circuit's Broadwell's product life cycle, but I kind of doubt it.

     

    The current Broadwell rollout has basically been non-existent for Intel's volumes. Maybe the CEO thinks its a nice feather in their cap for saying they shipped Broadwell on time with Core M, but they have to be scrambling right now trying to get Broadwell-U, H, K out the door. (The ones for laptops and desktops). They essentially missed the holiday shopping season for 90% of their OEM's, and the Core M products are not exactly getting rave reviews right now either.

     

    In the end, it is Intel's inline, mainline product, just like Haswell, Ivy Bridge, etc were. It will get its day in the sun, and I think they will push it next year. Shortening Broadwell's cycle and trying to maintain Skylake's "schedule" sounds quite fraught with risks that a company like Intel really doesn't take.

  • Reply 27 of 57
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by CanukStorm View Post

     

    Because, like it or not, when it comes to component design / manufacturing Samsung is world class.  To be able to supply Apple, you have to be able to supply at massive scale, in quantity and quality.  Samsung is probably the only company right now that can go toe to toe with Intel in terms of supplying enough components to Apple.  And not just processors - you have RAM, storage, displays, etc.

     

    Don't confuse your hatred for Samsung Mobile with Samsung Electronics.




    None of those Samsung components are being used in the iPhone 6's, so clearly they can survive without Samsung.

  • Reply 28 of 57
    thttht Posts: 5,550member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

     

    Here is the issue here, unless both Samsung and TSMC both have the same processes this is not a trivial thing, It would required lots of work on Apple part to support to different processors Litho technologies in a single product platform. If Apple is stitching back that mean it is for a different product altogether. Processors for two different fabs running different Litho technologies will perform differently and may required tweaks to the design to make them work and may also need different version of the OS as well, I do not thing Apple would take on this level of complexity.




    Isn't their a rumor that Apple is already doing this with the A8 SoC? Well, at the Korean new mongers are saying this, with them saying Samsung is producing up to 40% of the A8 SoCs Apple has shipped.

  • Reply 29 of 57
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member

    Broadwell's going to essentially be skipped for Skylake. They'll release a few Broadwell chips, but Intel's reported to be continuing with the Skylake launch this summer.
    Every week there is a different report with respect to skylake. The latest I heard was Skylake in 2016. I honestly don't think Intel knows what it is going to do.
    I agree, they'll stick with 20nm with the A9 series. A8 was a tock, A9 is a tick. New microarchitecture, same process node.

    It isn't unreasonable to think that Apple went with TSMC to allow Samsung and Global foundries to convert their factories to 14 nm. There is a massive push going on to get 14 nm out the door by these two. For these companies you either build a new plant or retro fit an old one.

    There are many possibilities here as far as why Apple is working with TSMC this year, however I don't think you can dismiss the possibility that they have in fact worked with Samsung to get 14 nm on line.
  • Reply 30 of 57
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post





    Every week there is a different report with respect to skylake. The latest I heard was Skylake in 2016. I honestly don't think Intel knows what it is going to do.

    It isn't unreasonable to think that Apple went with TSMC to allow Samsung and Global foundries to convert their factories to 14 nm. There is a massive push going on to get 14 nm out the door by these two. For these companies you either build a new plant or retro fit an old one.



    There are many possibilities here as far as why Apple is working with TSMC this year, however I don't think you can dismiss the possibility that they have in fact worked with Samsung to get 14 nm on line.

     

    I'll allow that last bit. But if that's true, then the entire industry needs a serious revamp. Apple basically owns the 20nm market right now, no one else can get 20nm anything produced. So what happens next year when they dominate the 14nm market as well?

  • Reply 31 of 57
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by THT View Post

     

     

    I'm just waiting for the inevitable other shoe to drop when Intel announces that Skylake slips to 1H 2016. I don't know if this will happen, and maybe Intel will just short-circuit's Broadwell's product life cycle, but I kind of doubt it.

     

    The current Broadwell rollout has basically been non-existent for Intel's volumes. Maybe the CEO thinks its a nice feather in their cap for saying they shipped Broadwell on time with Core M, but they have to be scrambling right now trying to get Broadwell-U, H, K out the door. (The ones for laptops and desktops). They essentially missed the holiday shopping season for 90% of their OEM's, and the Core M products are not exactly getting rave reviews right now either.

     

    In the end, it is Intel's inline, mainline product, just like Haswell, Ivy Bridge, etc were. It will get its day in the sun, and I think they will push it next year. Shortening Broadwell's cycle and trying to maintain Skylake's "schedule" sounds quite fraught with risks that a company like Intel really doesn't take.


    I was under the impression that Skylake is on the same schedule cadence as Broadwell, it'll be launched later in 2015 starting with ULV mobile versions and ramping up to higher-performing parts into 2016.  Meaning, we probably won't see Macs using Skylake starting until early 2016, like Broadwell.  I have yet to read any reliable reports of Skylake starting to ship in summer 2015.

  • Reply 32 of 57
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    This isn't even something new. The Korean newspapers reported back in Oct. 2013 that Samsung had won back the majority of Apple's 2015 A9 production by virtue of being first to roll out a properly performing 14nm die, well ahead of TSMC. Yeah Apple works on these contracts years in advance.
    Beyond that just because Samsung has a viable process that they can demonstrate doesn't imply that that their factories are ready. I suspect that activity at Samsungs plants has not curtailed but is rather focused on conversion to 14 nm. People here seem to be under the impression that one flips a switch and the old factory starts to crank out new product on a smaller process. This isn't true as there is often significant rebuilding of the lines required.
    EDIT: Here you go. Take a look at the date of this even earlier article.
    http://english.hankyung.com/news/apps/news.view?c1=&newscate=1&nkey=201307150718011

    If you follow the news about what is going on in NY, at Global and in Texas you will realize that major preparations are being made for something. In most circles that something is acknowledged to be 14 nm process lines.

    This is very good news really. I could see AMD even shipping 14 nm chips in 2015.
  • Reply 33 of 57
    thttht Posts: 5,550member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     

    I'll allow that last bit. But if that's true, then the entire industry needs a serious revamp. Apple basically owns the 20nm market right now, no one else can get 20nm anything produced. So what happens next year when they dominate the 14nm market as well?




    The Exynos 5430 and 5433 in the Galaxy Alpha and Galaxy Note 4 are 20 nm SoCs from Samsung's 20 nm. They may ship in one or two of Samsung's countless tablet models too. Not the same volumes as the A8 SoCs, but it's in the millions at least. Heck, the 5433 is a 64-bit A57/A53 big.LITTLE SoC, but Samsung is running it in 32-bit mode for various reasons. Maybe they'll advertise it at 64-bit when they ship Lollipop for it.

  • Reply 34 of 57
    jexusjexus Posts: 373member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post



    This is very good news really. I could see AMD even shipping 14 nm chips in 2015.

    Nah.

     

    AMD has confirmed that it will be shipping 20nm chips(APU's) in 2015, but 16nm/14nm won't come till Zen and K12 which is 2016 at earliest.

  • Reply 35 of 57
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    canukstorm wrote: »
    Because, like it or not, when it comes to component design / manufacturing Samsung is world class.  To be able to supply Apple, you have to be able to supply at massive scale, in quantity and quality.  Samsung is probably the only company right now that can go toe to toe with Intel in terms of supplying enough components to Apple.  And not just processors - you have RAM, storage, displays, etc.
    I don't buy that either. The Texas plant was/is a partnership with Apple. It was built to supply Apple and has been expanded to keep up with Apples demands. Samsung is huge no doubt there but even Samsung didn't have the capacity to meet Apples needs.

    This capacity need is why nobody should be surprised about Samsungs relationship with Global Foundries. Part of that deal is to help them deal with excess demand from Apple. Apples demand has had Samsungs plants running at full capacity that is always a concern because it could potentially cut into sales.
    Don't confuse your hatred for Samsung Mobile with Samsung Electronics.

    If I remember correctly a good portion of Samsung Electronics has been made up of American companies they purchased. Combine that with the fact that manufacturing takes place here in the USA and you have to wonder if these bozos complaining about Samsung reall understand what they are suggesting.
  • Reply 36 of 57
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    ronmg wrote: »
    Exactly. I see Apple working with TSMC as leverage to force Samsung to be more price competitive. But, if Samsung is the better company so far as quality and capability in manufacturing Apple's A-Series, then Apple should source them primarily. I hate Samsung as much as the next person, probably more-so, but I also want the best quality and reliability in my iPhones, iPads, etc. You get that with Samsung components, and that's OK - so long as Apple isn't overpaying for that quality/reliability (and so long as they have a second source with TSMC, Samsung cannot overcharge). No matter the billions in components that Apple commits to buying from Samsung, it will not save their smartphone business.

    Thor second source for Samsung is Global Foundries. TSMC provides an alternate manufacturing process that wouldn't be considered a second source.
  • Reply 37 of 57
    If this is true, it's a dumb move by Apple. Samsung could use a 64 bit chip to copy right now and Apple is giving it to them ... Even they save a little money , dumb to risk Samsung copying afain
  • Reply 38 of 57
    evilution wrote: »
    The fact is, Samsung makes great cheeps at a high yield and a good price.
    When they are told what to do, they do a good job, it's when they think for themselves that it goes wrong.

    Apple is risking giving this unethical group their 64bit SOC. Dumb
  • Reply 39 of 57
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    You are somewhat right here.
    maestro64 wrote: »
    Here is the issue here, unless both Samsung and TSMC both have the same processes this is not a trivial thing, It would required lots of work on Apple part to support to different processors Litho technologies in a single product platform.
    They don't and that can be a problem. However I doubt Apple has the big problems moving between process that people imagine. It would be a big deal for a smaller company but I would imagine that Apple has at least two possible as many as four teams working on processor design. These teams are focused on processor release at various times into the future, targeting processes expected to be up and running by then.

    In this industry you don't spend your current design time with the idea of using today's processes. Rather you design today for a procees that hopefully is ready to ship in the future.
    If Apple is stitching back that mean it is for a different product altogether.
    Well yes but this should surprise no one that pays attention to the industry. This entire year has been all about rumors and facts related to the 14 nm process that Samsung and Global teamed up on. The word is that this will be up and running in quarter one 2015. If so that will mean that Intel has effectively lost its technology edge.
    Processors for two different fabs running different Litho technologies will perform differently and may required tweaks to the design to make them work and may also need different version of the OS as well,
    If a processor requires a different OS it is effectively broken in my mind. The differing Litho processes are an issue but that doesn't mean getting identical behavior is impossible. There are many factors at play but with conservative designs Apple could source the same processor from two completely different manufactures and get results that the user would not recognize as being different.
    I do not thing Apple would take on this level of complexity.
    Sure they would, especially if they knew that production capacity would be an issue. You need to remember that Apples chip demands are massive, probably greater than anyone buyer out there. This right there sets them apart from common practice. There have been repeating rumors that Apple has hit 80-100% of Samsungs capacity(even after expansion) in the Texas plant. That is a huge problem for Apple.

    Given the reality of Apples needs I pretty certain that the are working on 14 nm designs that will target either Samsungs Process or TSMCs. They have to do this because nothing in this world is guaranteed. Frankly I would be surprised to find out that some of the drawn out product releases are availability issues for processors. The watch and even the 12" iPad could very well be waiting for 14 nm or simply for demand to cool off a bit.

    Further because of the demand issues people are foolish to believe that Apple doesn't work very closely with its partners to make sure they have enough supply.
  • Reply 40 of 57
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    What is interesting here is that Intels screw ups here far exceed anything AMD has done and yet Intel gets thrown softballs from the press. You have to wonder how much longer this unethical support of Intel will go on.
    tht wrote: »
    I'm just waiting for the inevitable other shoe to drop when Intel announces that Skylake slips to 1H 2016. I don't know if this will happen, and maybe Intel will just short-circuit's Broadwell's product life cycle, but I kind of doubt it.
    I've already have heard rumors to this effect.
    The current Broadwell rollout has basically been non-existent for Intel's volumes. Maybe the CEO thinks its a nice feather in their cap for saying they shipped Broadwell on time with Core M, but they have to be scrambling right now trying to get Broadwell-U, H, K out the door. (The ones for laptops and desktops). They essentially missed the holiday shopping season for 90% of their OEM's, and the Core M products are not exactly getting rave reviews right now either.
    Intel screwed up massively here. They prioritized a product that they knew could compete in the market whil ignoring their bread and butter industries. Maybe they thought marketing could make up for a crap product for the tablet space.
    In the end, it is Intel's inline, mainline product, just like Haswell, Ivy Bridge, etc were. It will get its day in the sun, and I think they will push it next year. Shortening Broadwell's cycle and trying to maintain Skylake's "schedule" sounds quite fraught with risks that a company like Intel really doesn't take.
    Actually if Intel wants to maintain any respect in the industry they really need to consider scrapping Broadwell and simply go with Skylake. Beyond that AMD could be shipping 14 nm chips before 2016, probably chips built on a new architecture. In the end Intel can't really afford to hold off on Skylake.
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