We’ve all heard the rumors that Apple will move away from Samsung and find another fab to make all of their sexy, super-fast A-series processors, but today, The Korea Times is reporting it as a done deal, saying that Apple has shut Samsung out entirely from the design of their A7 processors. Who are they going with instead? The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, or TSMC for short.
The Korea Times says that the A7 chip is actually still a ways away, and won’t be released until the first half of next year. When it does, it will boast a 20-nanometer processing technology, and TSMC will be the chip’s sole manufacturer.
This is a big blow to Samsung’s foundry business, which makes billions off of the production of Apple’s chips. This is going to hit Samsung where it hurts.
“If Samsung fails to win Apple orders for A7 chips, then some of Samsung’s system chip-manufacturing lines will be stopped. That’s a scenario Samsung really doesn’t want to see,” said a source speaking to the newspaper, which further suggests that “amid sluggish demand for conventional chips hit by poor sales of personal computers, Apple’s orders were a big help in lifting Samsung’s semiconductor business.”
Apple, of course, has wanted to shift away from using Samsung to make their processors for a while. Samsung can glean a lot of information on what Apple has up its sleeves by keeping an eye on what Apple orders from them, and it’s untenable for Apple that a direct competitor should profit on every iPhone sold. Still, TSMC in the past has had difficulty ramping up production and yielding enough chips to satisfy a company like Apple’s massive needs… which may explain the long gap we are now apparently looking at between the A6 and A7.