A new report from the Economic Daily News (via Digitimes) relays that Apple has tapped Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to be the exclusive supplier of A11 chips for the company’s 2017 iPhone, a device that might very well be called the iPhone 8.
TSMC is already rumored to be the exclusive supplier of A10 chips for the upcoming iPhone 7, though we’ll have to wait for the inevitable stream of device teardowns before we know for sure. As it stands now, A9 chip production for the iPhone 6s is split between TSMC and Samsung.
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The report reads in part:
TSMC is already the exclusive manufacturer of Apple’s A10 chip which will power the upcoming iPhone series slated for launch in September 2016. The Taiwan-based foundry will continue to be the sole supplier of Apple’s next-generation A11 processor that will be built on a 10nm FinFET process, the report indicated, without citing its sources.
Now as for why Apple may be abandoning Samsung entirely, the answer is three-fold. One, Samsung is a key competitor of Apple in the smartphone market. Two, Apple was reportedly impressed with TSMC’s 10-nanometer manufacturing process and found it to be more cost-effective than Samsung’s offering. And three, Apple was reportedly taken with TSMC’s InFO (integrated fan out) architecture which allows for the production of smaller, lighter and more energy efficient chips.
Suffice it to say, Apple’s relationship with Samsung has long been a complicated affair. A few years back, Apple unleashed its full legal might on the South Korean company as the two companies wrangled in contentious court proceedings over design and utility patents in as many as 9 different countries. What made those initial lawsuits so intriguing, though, is that Apple and Samsung were also business partners, with Samsung supplying the A-x chips used in Apple’s lineup of iOS devices.
Now if there’s one thing we know about Apple is that they’re pretty cut throat when it comes to business. You might even like them to the mafia in the sense that if you cross them, they’ll do everything in their power to remove you as a business partner. That being said, once Apple felt that Samsung was blatantly and unapologetically ripping off the iPhone, they began to try and remove Samsung from the supplier equation even though they knew the process would take a few years.
And now with the iPhone 7 release just two months away, we may soon find out that Apple’s efforts in this regard finally paid off.