Samsung might get aced out of big iPhone chip deal

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iPhone 7 back
TSMC may be the company behind Apple's A12 iPhone chips.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is likely to hang on to Apple’s A-series iPhone chip orders in 2018, a new report claims.

The report contrasts with one published earlier this week, suggesting that Samsung would be taking over the role of A12 chip manufacturing, on account of its investment in “extreme UV lithography machines,” some of the the most advanced chip-making equipment around.

Today’s report disagrees, however, saying that it is “unlikely” that Samsung will get the orders for Apple’s future A-series chips. The reason is that, “TSMC’s in-house developed InFO wafer-level packaging … make the Taiwan-based [TSMC] foundry’s 7nm FinFET technology more competitive than Samsung’s.”

This is despite the fact that Samsung reportedly won orders for the A9 chips used in the new 9.7-inch iPads introduced earlier in 2017. TSMC is the sole supplier of Apple’s 10nm A11 chips for the upcoming iPhones.

Competition between Samsung and TSMC has been a standard part of the iPhone manufacturing process over the past few years. The squabble to win orders has resulted in plenty of drama — even including a lawsuit when a former TSMC employee was charged with leaking trade secrets to Samsung. Foxconn’s CEO Terry Gou has also gotten 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.

Apple has reportedly turned to Samsung to resolve yield issues it has with some components of the upcoming iPhone 8. The close working relationship with Apple has additionally helped Samsung record a massive 72 percent rise in profits compared to this time last year — setting a new record for the South Korean tech giant in the process.

Source: Digitimes