The lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack won’t be the only big change to hit the iPhone 7. According to a report from The Electronic Times, Apple recently signed a deal with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) that will make the Taiwan-based company the sole party responsible for manufacturing Apple’s upcoming A10 processor. In other words, Samsung, which has long been an Apple manufacturing partner, is being completely shut out.
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While this won’t be 100% verified until the iPhone 7 is released and the inevitable teardowns begin, it’s no secret that Apple has been itching to more fully phase Samsung out of the iPhone for quite some time now.
According to the report, Apple ultimately opted to ink a deal with TSMC because they were impressed with TSMC’s 10-nanometer manufacturing process. What’s more, a September report from the China Times relayed that Apple was interested in an exclusive manufacturing deal with TSMC because their manufacturing process was more cost-effective than what Samsung was offering. Not only that, but word has it that Apple was also interested in TSMC’s InFO (intgrated fan out) architecture which would pave the way for smaller and lighter chips.
Looking ahead, The Electronic Times anticipates that A10 production will begin sometime in June, ahead of what will likely be a September 2016 launch for Apple’s next-gen iPhone.
As a final point, we should note that TSMC isn’t completely new to Apple’s iPhone business. Far from it, TSMC has been manufacturing chips for Apple as far back as the iPhone 6. But with both the iPhone 6 and 6s models, A8 and A9 manufacturing duties were reportedly split between TSMC and Samsung.