Just a week ago, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo began slyly hinting that Apple would be building a 3.2 million square foot computer chip factory somewhere in his state. This project is known as Project Azalea.
But not so fast. Now a new report has popped up saying that New York isn’t the destination of Apple’s massive new fab plant, but Oregon is instead.
The Oregonian reports:
Business Oregon — the state’s economic development agency — confirms that it’s recruiting a company that goes by the codename “Azalea.” The department declined to discuss details of the effort, citing a nondisclosure agreement with the unnamed company…
The cost of building and equipping a new semiconductor factory — a fab, in the chip industry’s parlance — runs in the billions of dollars. That’s attracted great interest to the chatter around Azalea, which at this point is largely speculative.
Within the chip industry, the theory is that the fab would be a contract facility to build microprocessors for Apple’s mobile devices, the iPhone and iPad.
Here’s the theory. Apple wants to take as much business as possible away from its arch-rival Samsung, but Samsung is one of the few companies in the world with the facilities to make Apple’s custom-designed chips. Project Azalea, then, is Apple’s attempt to remedy that: a custom-built “fab” that would give Apple control of its own silicon destiny.
Even more intriguing to me? If Apple has its own fab, it doesn’t have to build only ARM chips there. It could potentially branch out to x86 chips as well. The Mac of the future might no longer run Intel inside.
Source: The Oregonian.