TSMC Reaches Deal With Apple To Produce A8, A9 And A9X Processors [Rumor]

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Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has reached a deal with Apple to supply its next-generation A8, A9, and A9X processors for iOS devices, according to industry sources. The company will reportedly begin manufacturing the chips using a 20-nanometer process, then upgrade to 16-nanometer and later 10-nanometer processes in the future.

Samsung has been producing Apple’s A-series processors since it first introduced the A4 chip alongside the original iPad in 2010. However, amid several lengthy legal battles with the Korean electronics giant, Apple has reportedly been looking to source its components elsewhere.

The Cupertino company has already shut Samsung out of iPad mini display production, and it has reportedly been working out a deal with TSMC for some time. But reports have suggested that the TSMC deal has been stalling due to TSMC’s inability to produce enough processors fast enough for Apple’s hugely popular iOS devices.

Due to the company’s yield rates, Apple has been forced to stick solely with Samsung, but it appears that issue may have been resolved. According to DigiTimes, the TSMC deal is now done, and the company has been tasked with producing Apple’s upcoming A-series chips:

TSMC will start to manufacture Apple’s A8 chips in small volume in July 2013, and substantially ramp up its 20nm production capacity after December, the sources revealed. The foundry will complete installing a batch of new 20nm fab equipment, which is capable of processing 50,000 wafers, in the first quarter of 2014, the sources said.

TSMC then plans to upgrade to a 16-nanometer manufacturing process later on, while a 10-nanometer manufacturing process is also being eyed for the future, according to DigiTimes. The company will reportedly begin mass production of Apple’s A9 and A9x processor during the third quarter of 2014.

It’s unclear whether TSMC will now have exclusivity on Apple’s chips, or whether it will simply take up some of the production alongside Samsung, but according to DigiTimes, TSMC has allocated a number of its facilities to making A-series processors.

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Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the UK. He has an interest in all things tech, but most enjoys covering Apple, anything mobile, and gaming. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

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