Apple will favor Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company over Samsung to power its next-generation iOS devices, DigiTimes said on Friday. The report aligns with an earlier Reuters report that suggested TSMC would build the next-generation A6 processor for future iPhone and iPad devices. TSMC will use its 20nm and 28nm technologies to create the new chips but may not begin supplying Apple with parts until next year. The Taiwan-based chip builder may have inked a deal to supply the successor to the A6 chip, too. Earlier reports suggested TSMC already started to test its first batch of A6 chipsets, which may offer dual or quad-core ARM-based architectures. Prior to its agreement with TSMC, Apple typically gave Samsung exclusive orders for its silicon. The move could be tied to multiple ongoing patent lawsuits with the South Korea-based electronics giant. More →
Trial production of Apple’s next-generation A6 mobile processor has begun, Taiwan Economic News reports. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. has kicked off a test run of A6 chipsets — which could be 28-nanometer SoCs that feature dual or quad-cores and ARM-based architecture according to earlier reports — and Apple devices carrying the new chips are expected to be released in the second quarter next year at the earliest, according to multiple anonymous industry sources. Reports dating back to June suggested that Apple dumped Samsung following multiple patent disputes, and the company would instead utilize TSMC for production of its next-generation A6 processor. This new Taiwan Economic News report contradicts earlier rumors, however, which claimed that TSMC had begun its trial run of A6 chips last month. This could be a new test run, or earlier reports could have been misguided, of course. Taiwan-based TSMC is the world’s largest contract microchip manufacturer. More →
Apple has started to test 2048 x 1536 resolution displays from LG and Samsung, both of which have secured deals to provide the iPad maker with LCD parts, Korea Times reported on Monday. “Apple’s upcoming iPad 3 will feature an improved display to support quad extended graphics (QXGA), a display resolution of 2048×1536 pixels with a 4:3 aspect ratio to provide full high definition (HD) viewing experience,” a source told the Korean news outlet. The source refers to the tablet as the “iPad 3″ and not the “iPad HD,” or “iPad Pro” which other rumors have suggested the device will be called. Apple typically uses Samsung displays and flash storage in its devices, but a flurry of recent lawsuits have pushed Apple to pursue different component suppliers. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), for example, will provide flash memory for Apple’s next-generation iPhone and iPad products. One unnamed Samsung senior official commented on Samsung’s relationship with Apple: “We aren’t affected significantly by Apple’s changing approach,” the official told Korea Times. “Apple is first and foremost about product quality, and while it may find other manufacturers to provide customized chips for its new products, the same can’t be said about LCDs.” More →
Apple may have just hit Samsung where it hurts as the two companies continue their ongoing legal battles over patents. Apple, said to be the largest buyer of Samsung components, will not use Samsung to build its next-generation A6 processor, Reuters reports. Instead, Taiwan-based TSMC has reportedly been contracted to build the chip, which is expected to power Apple’s future iPhone and iPad devices. TSMC, the world’s largest contract microchip manufacturer, is said to have already begun test production of Apple’s A6 processor. Samsung currently builds the A5 processor used in Apple’s popular iPad 2 tablet and it owns numerous patents surrounding the chip’s design, including a patent that covers the processor’s the system design and memory packaging. The A5 chip is also expected to be included in Apple’s iPhone 5, which is expected to launch later this year. Should TSMC in fact be manufacturing Apple’s next-generation mobile CPU, it will likely feature a significant redesign in order to avoid potential patent complaints from Samsung. More →
Apple could cut Samsung from its list of part suppliers, an arrangement that is worth as much as $5 billion for Samsung, one analyst has suggested. “They have become more competitors and less partners and so I think Apple will definitely not be looking to Samsung as its go-to partner-of-choice for NAND flash,” Brian Marshall, a Gleacher & Co. analyst told The Globe and Mail. Apple could instead choose to get its NAND flash products from other companies, such as Hynix Semiconductor, Micron, and Toshiba. Similarly, if Apple were to bail on Samsung as a parts provider, the iPhone maker could look to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp (TSMC) or Intel for processors, but it would also need to find another provider for LCDs. Samsung and Apple have been locked in multiple legal battles since Apple accused Samsung of creating “copycat” devices and sought to block the import of its products in the United States. More →
According to a report filed by EETimes, Apple may partner with the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in a “foundry relationship” to produce the A5 processor for the iPad 2. The move is being billed as a setback to Samsung Electronics, the company currently responsible for the production of Apple’s A4 silicon. “Apple, according to the source, will use TSMC for three reasons: 1. Samsung competes with the iPhone and iPad; 2. TSMC has the highest yielding 40-nm process in the foundry world; and 3. TSMC has the most 40-nm capacity,” writes the Times. The site quotes a report from FBR Capital, which expects iPad production to top 45 million units in 2011; 13 million units in the first half of the year and 32 million units in the second. Neither Apple, Samsung, nor TSMC have publicly commented on the purported foundry deal.