In June of this year we published a story that said Apple was considering switching from Samsung to TSMC for future processors. Note that while yes, Apple designs their own chips, they depend on companies who have fabs, slang for semiconductor fabrication plants, to make the little chips that power your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. The A4 and A5 chips that respectively power the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S are Samsung built using a 45 nanometer process. TSMC on the other hand has the ability to pump out chips using a 28 nanometer process. Smaller chips are cheaper to make, they can be clocked faster, and they use less energy. Now we’re getting a rumor from The Korea Times that says Apple’s relationship with Samsung, however violent it may be right now thanks to the number of court cases the two consumer electronics are embroiled in, will remain unchanged for the A6.
The article goes on to say that Samsung does indeed have the ability to pump out 28 nanometer chips, and that the South Korean company has a factory in Austin, Texas that will be shipping a majority of the A6 chips Apple needs; said chips will be quad core. TSMC will make A6 chips for Apple, but “the volume will be very small” according to an anonymous source who spoke to The Korea Times. This story actually makes a lot of sense since iOS devices have an incredible amount of momentum behind them, so much so that switching chip companies so suddenly seems absolutely idiotic and potentially suicidal. Apple is likely going to use both Samsung and TSMC, shifting orders from one to the order, and force both companies to slash their prices in order to get more favorable terms.
We’ll get to the bottom of this once the first A6 based product hits the market and someone tears it down and puts it under a high powered microscope.
[Via: 9 to 5 Mac]