Rumor: Samsung tapped to supply DRAM for 'A9' chip in Apple's next iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone edited March 2015
In a deal said to be worth billions of dollars, Samsung will allegedly provide at least half of the dynamic random access memory used in the processor for Apple's 2015 iPhone update, according to a new rumor.




Word of the alleged agreement between the two rival companies was reported this week by the Korea Times, which cited an industry official familiar with the deal. It was said that Samsung could potentially take an even larger share of DRAM in the so-called "iPhone 6s" if Apple chooses.

Samsung has supplied DRAM to Apple in the past, and the South Korean electronics maker has also been consistently rumored to build 14-nanometer A9 chips for Apple's next iPhone and iPad models.

Other previous DRAM suppliers to Apple include Toshiba, Elpida Memory, Micron, and SK Hynix.

Though Samsung is a heated rival with Apple, the company is also a key supplier of parts for the company's hot selling iPhone models. Most notably, all of Apple's custom A-series chips were built at Samsung's silicon fabrication operations based out of Austin, Tex., until last year's iPhone 6 launch brought Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. into the fold.

The rumor comes on the heels of a separate report from Korea on Monday that claimed Apple was recruiting experts on chips and batteries from Samsung. According to the report, Apple has been looking to bring talent to California, and has been attracting Samsung employees with positions offering greater pay.

The report didn't give any indication of how much DRAM Apple's so-called "A9" processor might include. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus continue to support a gigabyte of RAM like previous handsets, while the iPad Air 2 boasts two gigabytes.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 57
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Funny. This is the first year where I really couldn't be less interested in what the iPhone refresh is going to be.

    I can't imagine wanting more from an iPhone than what my 6 Plus is/has/offers/does.
  • Reply 2 of 57

    Makes sense. If the A9 uses the package-on-package assembly, then the SoC and DRAM would be manufactured together.

     

    I don't really care who fabs processors for Apple. As long as they are using the best available process and can make them in quantity.

  • Reply 3 of 57
    Given the repots that Apple's basically the DRAM king (expected to take 25% of the market on their own), they need supplies badly. And IIRC Samsung was opening a new line and dedicating it to Apple production only.
  • Reply 4 of 57

    Barron's is reporting this morning, "TSMC Will Have The Lion's Share of Apple's A9 Pie: Citi". It appears that Samsung's 14nm fabrication process is not ready for prime time after all. TSMC's 16nm fabrication process is ready as TSMC had reported. But Wall Street chose to ignore TSMC in favor of Samsung until denial could not be held on to.

     

    It is amazing how easy it has become to know when Samsung's "wins" are targeted lies spread around to make the company look better. The timing of the lies tend be 2-3 weeks before and after Samsung makes official earnings reports. When the A9  based on 14nm win was announced, I had so much doubt due to the 14nm having yield issues that were never clearly stated to have been resolved.

     

    Now this DRAM rumor is spreading just in time to cover up the A9 lies. 

  • Reply 5 of 57

    how shortsighted

  • Reply 6 of 57
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,324member
    Barron's is reporting this morning, "TSMC Will Have The Lion's Share of Apple's A9 Pie: Citi". It appears that Samsung's 14nm fabrication process is not ready for prime time after all. TSMC's 16nm fabrication process is ready as TSMC had reported. But Wall Street chose to ignore TSMC in favor of Samsung until denial could not be held on to.

    It is amazing how easy it has become to know when Samsung's "wins" are targeted lies spread around to make the company look better. The timing of the lies tend be 2-3 weeks before and after Samsung makes official earnings reports. When the A9  based on 14nm win was announced, I had so much doubt due to the 14nm having yield issues that were never clearly stated to have been resolved.

    Now this DRAM rumor is spreading just in time to cover up the A9 lies. 

    That's just a rumor from Barron's, which has not been a major supplier of Apple information over the years. Is it true? We don't know. We do know that Samsung has already made an announcement that their 14nm line is ready, and that a "major" customer is using it. Who is that major customer? Other than Apple, all of their other customers aside from their own chip use, are relatively small.

    TSMC has their own problems, and we don't know if they've sstraightened out these problems. In addition, Samsung's line uses superior technology to that of TSMC.

    I've never been comfortable with Apple using TSMC, because they ALWAYS have problems with new process technology. Always. Just ask ATI and Nvidia.
  • Reply 7 of 57
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post

     

    Barron's is reporting this morning, "TSMC Will Have The Lion's Share of Apple's A9 Pie: Citi". It appears that Samsung's 14nm fabrication process is not ready for prime time after all. TSMC's 16nm fabrication process is ready as TSMC had reported. But Wall Street chose to ignore TSMC in favor of Samsung until denial could not be held on to.

     

    It is amazing how easy it has become to know when Samsung's "wins" are targeted lies spread around to make the company look better. The timing of the lies tend be 2-3 weeks before and after Samsung makes official earnings reports. When the A9  based on 14nm win was announced, I had so much doubt due to the 14nm having yield issues that were never clearly stated to have been resolved.

     

    Now this DRAM rumor is spreading just in time to cover up the A9 lies. 




    That's curious.  Samsung are expected to announce the S6 in about a weeks time and that is touted as having their 14nm 64bit 7 Octa Exynos 7420 in it.  A bit awkward if their 14nm process isn't ready for prime time and is having yield issues.

     

    If the S6 does have a 14nm CPU in it next week, I think it would be safe to say the report is incorrect.

  • Reply 8 of 57
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by melgross View Post





    That's just a rumor from Barron's, which has not been a major supplier of Apple information over the years. Is it true? We don't know. We do know that Samsung has already made an announcement that their 14nm line is ready, and that a "major" customer is using it. Who is that major customer? Other than Apple, all of their other customers aside from their own chip use, are relatively small.



    TSMC has their own problems, and we don't know if they've sstraightened out these problems. In addition, Samsung's line uses superior technology to that of TSMC.



    I've never been comfortable with Apple using TSMC, because they ALWAYS have problems with new process technology. Always. Just ask ATI and Nvidia.



    Yes, Samsung made an announcement there is a "major" customer using it. It is very possible that "major" customer is Samsung itself not Apple as many people would just assume. The A8 was supposedly bagged by Samsung until is was proven TSMC was the actual winner. 

     

    So far whatever problems TSMC always has is not having a material effect on iPhone 6/6 Plus sales.

     

    Samsung's big announcement comes Sunday, March 1, 2015. This is one Samsung announcement I am looking forward to learning about because I doubt the company will pull of the miracle it needs to pull off this time. Will the company announce it is using its own 14nm AP or some other AP? If the 14nm AP is being used, is it being used worldwide or just in a few markets? Will the 14nm AP surpass, equal or fall short of the A8?

     

    Hey, if I am proven wrong, I will accept it and admit it!

  • Reply 9 of 57
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

     



    That's curious.  Samsung are expected to announce the S6 in about a weeks time and that is touted as having their 14nm 64bit 7 Octa Exynos 7420 in it.  A bit awkward if their 14nm process isn't ready for prime time and is having yield issues.

     

    If the S6 does have a 14nm CPU in it next week, I think it would be safe to say the report is incorrect.




    I do not think it is safe to say that at all. IF the 14nm process is working for Samsung that does not mean it will work for Apple. Still, as I mentioned above, I am looking forward to the March 1, 2015, announcement!

     

    On another note, I need to tone down! I am ranting about Samsung!! Yikes!!!

  • Reply 10 of 57
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,414member
    First Toshiba does not do DRAM they got out of that business many years ago, Toshiba is NAND supplier to Apple and both San Disk and Toshiba share the same Foundry in a JV together and Toshiba special sauce is not as good a San Disk thus the reason they now has more of Apple's business. Back to DRAM, Elpida is apple supplier of choose which is now own by Micron. After apple had a fall out with Samsung and went looking for a new Mobile DRAM supplier Elpida, made a deal with the devil (Apple) to get all the business which almost put them out of business which require Mircon's bail out. The deal Apple has with Elpida is a great deal not sure Samsung can do anything to beat it unless they are giving it away which they could be, but I double Mircon would let the business go that easily.
  • Reply 11 of 57
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post

     



    ..IF the 14nm process is working for Samsung that does not mean it will work for Apple...


     

    Why not?

  • Reply 12 of 57
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,324member

    Yes, Samsung made an announcement there is a "major" customer using it. It is very possible that "major" customer is Samsung itself not Apple as many people would just assume. The A8 was supposedly bagged by Samsung until is was proven TSMC was the actual winner. 

    So far whatever problems TSMC always has is not having a material effect on iPhone 6/6 Plus sales.

    Samsung's big announcement comes Sunday, March 1, 2015. This is one Samsung announcement I am looking forward to learning about because I doubt the company will pull of the miracle it needs to pull off this time. Will the company announce it is using its own 14nm AP or some other AP? If the 14nm AP is being used, is it being used worldwide or just in a few markets? Will the 14nm AP surpass, equal or fall short of the A8?

    Hey, if I am proven wrong, I will accept it and admit it!

    For whatever reason you have for not wanting to believe that Samsung will be the major supplier, it's not good enough to pretend that all the other reports say differently. If Samsung meant that they were the major customer, they would have said so. We know that they will be using their own chip in the S6, because they said so. But the sales of the S6 will be again dwarfed by Apple's sales. It is not the major customer they're talking about, and no one else would believe that it is.

    We know which chip Samsung will be using. This is old news. Go to Anandtech and read about it there in some detail.

    If you're wrong, you will have no choice but to admit it. But while it's always possible that Barron's is right, from what we know now, it's not likely.
  • Reply 13 of 57
    davendaven Posts: 485member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pmz View Post



    Funny. This is the first year where I really couldn't be less interested in what the iPhone refresh is going to be.



    I can't imagine wanting more from an iPhone than what my 6 Plus is/has/offers/does.



    I'm on the fence. I have a 5s which is great but I use a credit card for most purchases as my bank is some distance away and getting cash for daily expenses is not convenient. My credit card information has been hacked at two big retailers and I've received replacement cards after each hack after being initially being assured that my information was not part of the hack. (Generally less than two months after each hack the credit card company fires off an urgent letter saying I'll get a card in the mail in the next couple of days and to quit using my current card as soon as possible. It really doesn't give one much confidence that credit card companies and business give a hoot about your financial security.)

     

    Because of the hacks and the security Apple Pay offers, I'm very interested in a new iPhone. I really don't want a watch as I haven't worn a watch in almost 15 years. I'm also retired now and really don't need a watch anymore. Besides, the price of an Apple watch seems to be about the same as a new iPhone anyway. As my eyes are now older, a bigger screen is desirable. As usual the question is do I buy a 6 Plus mid-cycle or wait for the next iteration? Honestly if the 5s had Apple Pay capability without the need to buy an Apple Watch, I'd stick with the 5s for a long time. I had a good closing in mind when I started babbling but I forgot what my conclusion was going to be. Early onset Alzheimer's perhaps?

  • Reply 14 of 57
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,071member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

     

     

    Why not?




    Because maybe Apple needs an order of magnitude more chips and the process can support lower levels of production but not higher.  (Not saying that is true but that would be the premise behind the statement you are questioning)

  • Reply 15 of 57
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by chadbag View Post

     



    Because maybe Appl needs an order of magnitude more chips and the process can support lower levels of production but not higher.  (Not saying that is true but that would be the premise behind the statement you are questioning)




    Demand for the S6 will be in the tens of millions.  If Samsung can't make the A9 in volume then who is Apple going to turn to who have a track record of being able to out-produce Samsung?

  • Reply 16 of 57
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,382member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pmz View Post



    Funny. This is the first year where I really couldn't be less interested in what the iPhone refresh is going to be.



    I can't imagine wanting more from an iPhone than what my 6 Plus is/has/offers/does.



    I'm loving my iP6+ as well... that being said, big improvement for me would be battery technology.  If anyone is giving the battery-field a boost, its the R&D that Apple is putting into it.  I want to believe that in the near future, battery technology is going to have a game-changing leap and Apple is going to lead the way... with Samsung right there to copy it.

  • Reply 17 of 57
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,071member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

     



    Demand for the S6 will be in the tens of millions.  If Samsung can't make the A9 in volume then who is Apple going to turn to who have a track record of being able to out-produce Samsung?




    We'll see what the demand is.  S5 did not do so well.

     

    Apple needs an order of magnitude more than "tens of millions".  (150 million is an order of magnitude more then 30 million, for example)

     

    I am not advocating any position myself.  I was just explaining the logic behind the statement you were questioning.

  • Reply 18 of 57
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,085member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pmz View Post



    Funny. This is the first year where I really couldn't be less interested in what the iPhone refresh is going to be.



    I can't imagine wanting more from an iPhone than what my 6 Plus is/has/offers/does.

     

    My thoughts EXACTLY. I feel like Apple can take a year off this year, I wouldn't be upset one bit, but clearly they would be skewered by the shareholders/media. And obviously, revenues would take a massive hit. But as a product? There's really nothing they "need" to do, the 6/6+ should serve everyone's needs for a very long time. Every aspect is fantastic and almost perfected, and they have the sizes covered. They could instead direct all that R&D time towards other projects. iOS9 would be enough to keep things interesting. They could maybe just drop everything by $100 in the fall. The "competition" is irrelevant. 

     

    I just don't see what major feature they could add to the 6/6+ to create enough differentiation, and continue selling the current models. In the past it's always been some hardware thing (Touch ID, new form factors, etc). This year, I don't even see what viable, hypeable technology Apple can add that isn't already there, beyond the usual spec bumps. 

  • Reply 19 of 57
    ksecksec Posts: 1,543member

    If Apple wanted iPhone 6S to have 2GB Memory without any increase in power consumption, they will need to use LPDDR4.

    And Samsung is having the best yield for LPDDR4 at the moment.

  • Reply 20 of 57
    pdq2pdq2 Posts: 270member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pmz View Post



    Funny. This is the first year where I really couldn't be less interested in what the iPhone refresh is going to be.



    I can't imagine wanting more from an iPhone than what my 6 Plus is/has/offers/does.

     

    Actually, I might like a smaller form factor! (With the 6+ goodies, like ApplePay). I carry my phone in my pocket, and the 6's are a little bigger than what I'd like (but beautiful, for sure).

     

    Yeah, I know, those customers are _never_ satisfied.

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