The iPhone 6s isn’t even out yet, but already reports are claiming that Apple has awarded its A10 processor orders for the next eagerly-anticipated iPhone upgrade, the iPhone 7.
The winning company if you believe said rumors? None other than Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company — the manufacturer said to be making half of Apple’s A9 chips for the iPhone 6s.
Do we believe it? Count me in the “skeptical” pile.
The report (which TSMC has given a “no comment” to) states that TSMC will be Apple’s exclusive supplier for the next-gen A10 processor, with volume production said to be kicking off in March 2016. TSMC will reportedly offer its “in-house developed backend integrated fan-out (InFO) wafer-level packaging” for the A10 production, which will be built using the company’s 16nm FinFET process technology.
Why the skepticism on my part? Because we went through this all last year, with Samsung and TSMC both named at different times as Apple’s exclusive manufacturer for the A9, only for reports to eventually reveal that they were sharing the job.
The squabble to win orders resulted in plenty of drama — even leading to a lawsuit, as a former TSMC employee was charged with leaking trade secrets to Samsung. Foxconn’s CEO Terry Gou also got involved to lobby on behalf of TSMC, prompted by his fears that Samsung is taking over more and more of the available manufacturing work from Apple.
I won’t be surprised if Apple does end up going with TSMC, but I’d be shocked if any final decisions had been made this early.