Samsung rumored to resume making iPhone chips for Apple in 2018 with 7nm 'A12'

Posted:
in iPhone edited July 2017
Samsung has reportedly secured a deal to resume making A-series processors for Apple in 2018, having been largely cut out of production for the past few years.




The company recently bought ultraviolet lithography machines to make 7 nanometer iPhone processors, The Korea Herald said on Tuesday. Sources claimed that one of Samsung's three co-CEOs, Kwon Oh-hyun, was central to winning the deal, and visited Apple's headquarters in June.

"The CEO could persuade Apple's top brass taking advantage of their close ties on OLED," one source said. Samsung is thought to be the lone OLED supplier for this year's "iPhone 8", since it controls 95 percent of the world's OLED market -- companies like LG and Foxconn's Sharp are only now beginning to ramp up their production capacity.

Samsung won't replace Apple's current processor maker of choice, TSMC, the Herald said, citing various other reports. Instead, the two companies are expected to share orders as with the iPhone 6s.

In the meantime Samsung is said to be nearing completion of testing its new equipment, after which it will look to get final approval from Apple.

TSMC has largely monopolized A-series production since 2014, likely because of Apple's interest in distancing itself from its main competitor in smartphones and tablets. It otherwise tends to have multiple suppliers for any major component, however, since that forces price competition, reduces bottlenecks, and helps meet the quantities needed for global launches.

This year's iPhones -- including the "8", "7s," and "7s Plus" -- are allegedly encountering production delays, though not because of processor issues.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,570member
    sog35 said:
    Translation:  Samsung is no longer a threat to the iPhone
    Samsung is still the "threat" it's ever been, but they also still fab the best chips at the quantities Apple needs.
  • Reply 2 of 24
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,020member
    Hopefully this means Glofos fabs aren't less efficient anymore, as they share fab nodes with Samsung. That's been hurting AMD with the wafer agreement (so much that they partly paid their way out of it, after paying their way into it)
    edited July 2017 pscooter63
  • Reply 3 of 24
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,991member
    It would be interesting if Samsung was broken up into separate corporations. Then we could continue to get mad at Samsung Mobile for stealing Apple designs while giving Samsung Computing (or whichever division handles processor and memory fabrication) a free pass. I understand everything is still controlled by people who regularly get in trouble but I want to try and think of the majority of the company, especially its workers, as good people. I won't buy Samsung TVs or kitchen appliances but I'd like to think that using Samsung processor fabrication could still be a good thing for Apple. 

    Ok, maybe not and maybe Samsung will always be the enemy.
    watto_cobrapscooter63SpamSandwich
  • Reply 4 of 24
    Shouldn't that be:

    "Samsung gets the privilege of fabbing the worlds most advanced ARM mobile processor."
    watto_cobrapscooter63tallest skil
  • Reply 5 of 24
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,889member
    For decades, new processes for fabricating microprocessors have led to lower cost per transistor, lower power utilization, and better performance. 

    We may now be entering a new phase in which new processes lead to lower power utilization and better performance, but without any cost savings (and possibly cost increases). That's why Apple stands out as a driving customer for these new processes -- because they are focused more on performance and power than they are on cost. 

    It could be a very long time before we see companies like AMD and Nvidia utilizing an EUV process. 
  • Reply 6 of 24
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,235member
    Why doesn't Apple just design processors for Galaxy too and cut out the middleman? 😏
    watto_cobratallest skil
  • Reply 7 of 24
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,762member
    Why doesn't Apple just design processors for Galaxy too and cut out the middleman? 😏
    Well unfortunately, Apple doesn't have anyone else to make these. Its not like there are many chip fabs to choose from here. What do you want them to do? They can use only one and face HUGE delays (I mean bigger than we see already), or they can use someone like Samsung and get their product out the door. Which would you choose given the circumstances?
  • Reply 8 of 24
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,876member
    7nm?
  • Reply 9 of 24
    smalmsmalm Posts: 654member
    Samsung will not have a 7nm EUV process in production in just 1 short year, that's humbug.
    The Korea Herald said on Tuesday
    This is practically a confirmation the A12 will be on TSMC's 7nm only  B)


    ksec
  • Reply 10 of 24
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,766member
    rob53 said:
    It would be interesting if Samsung was broken up into separate corporations. 
    People here hate on Samsung too much in my opinion. Sure Apple sued Samsung Electronics over the design of their phone, but Samsung is a huge conglomerate consisting of dozens of independent companies many listed separately on the Korean stock exchange. In general Samsung Group is already broken up into separate companies with all kinds of diversity from heavy industry, medical, finance, insurance, hotels, chemicals, not to mention the dozens of joint ventures and affiliates with many well known international companies such as Corning, Seagate, Roche, BP, DuPont, etc.
    edited July 2017
  • Reply 11 of 24
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,464member
    smalm said:
    Samsung will not have a 7nm EUV process in production in just 1 short year, that's humbug.
    The Korea Herald said on Tuesday
    This is practically a confirmation the A12 will be on TSMC's 7nm only  B)


    A quick look on the internet makes your case. If anything, I'd venture that Apple might target its first TMSC 7nm production for the watch, and possibly the iPad Pro's A11X, where it would provide a nice boost to performance/battery life prior to the 2018 iPhone roll out of the A12.
  • Reply 12 of 24
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 3,900member
    Just as Jobs' love/hate & compete/cooperate relationship with Gates left me confused, so too does Apple's love/hate & compete/cooperate relationship with Samsung confuse me.

    I couldn't do that.  I admire them for being able to be clear headed enough to pull it off.
  • Reply 13 of 24
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 422member
    volcan said:
    rob53 said:
    It would be interesting if Samsung was broken up into separate corporations. 
    People here hate on Samsung too much in my opinion. 
    Samsung Mobile is run by a bunch of scumbags, so the hate here is warranted.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 14 of 24
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,654member
    This could be a great year for Samsung with the Galaxy S8, Note 8, and all the screens on the IPhone 8.   I wonder if the make more in the iPhone 8 than on their own phones.
  • Reply 15 of 24
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,750member
    k2kw said:
    This could be a great year for Samsung with the Galaxy S8, Note 8...
    LOL
  • Reply 16 of 24
    ksecksec Posts: 1,549member
    smalm said:
    Samsung will not have a 7nm EUV process in production in just 1 short year, that's humbug.
    The Korea Herald said on Tuesday
    This is practically a confirmation the A12 will be on TSMC's 7nm only  B)


    As of right now, in the best possible scenario, there isn't even enough EUV machine to fit HALF of iPhone SoC Production. 

    It is likely the 7nm EUV SoC will be used for something much smaller volume. I am guessing it will be for die shrink of the current iPad SoC or new SoC for Apple Watch.  
  • Reply 17 of 24
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 422member
    k2kw said:
    This could be a great year for Samsung with the Galaxy S8, Note 8...
    LOL
    Obviously he hasn't seen the sales numbers for S8  :D
  • Reply 18 of 24
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,060member
    igorsky said:
    k2kw said:
    This could be a great year for Samsung with the Galaxy S8, Note 8...
    LOL
    Obviously he hasn't seen the sales numbers for S8  :D
    Who has outside of Samsung who is claiming (!) they're ahead of last years sales over the same number of days by 15%. 
    edited July 2017
  • Reply 19 of 24
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    tzeshan said:
    7nm?
    Wouldn’t that make it the smallest-process commercially shipping processor on the market? And by how many nanometers would it be the smallest? 7 sounds a little optimistic to me.
  • Reply 20 of 24
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    macxpress said:
    Why doesn't Apple just design processors for Galaxy too and cut out the middleman? 😏
    Well unfortunately, Apple doesn't have anyone else to make these. Its not like there are many chip fabs to choose from here. What do you want them to do? They can use only one and face HUGE delays (I mean bigger than we see already), or they can use someone like Samsung and get their product out the door. Which would you choose given the circumstances?
    There are two, and yeah, with the massive volume they're selling they can't really be picky.though pissing off Apple would undoubtably lead to do something harsh like buying TSMC or why not Intel (haha) or at least investing in them heavily to spite Samsung :-). That's what they did for the com chips and Qualcom is about to suffer a lot.

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