According to a report today from SemiAccurate, a semi-accurate site that has been hit and miss on Apple rumors in the past, Apple has just bought into a chip fab plant, backing up recent rumors that the company could be moving to build its own CPUs.
Apple has just done something that SemiAccurate has been expecting for months and entered the fab industry. No we are not joking, Apple just bought into a fab, and not in a trivial way either.
The full report remains behind a paywall, so it’s unclear if the site mentions a specific company that Apple has bought into. The tags for the report, however, do list “UMC”, a hint that the company in question could be Taiwan-based chipmaker United Microelectronics Corporation…
As for SemiAccurate’s track record, the site’s prediction back in 2011 that Apple was moving away from Intel in its laptop products of course failed to come true. It has, however, got a few things right such as Apple’s move back to Nvidia graphics in 2012.
The report also notes that it its previous report has come true and links to a story from January claiming Apple had hired a full GPU design team away from AMD.
The efforts at Apple would presumably be lead by Bob Mansfield, the Apple veteran executive who began leading Apple’s new Technologies group last October. At the time, Tim Cook said the group had “very ambitious plans” for semiconductors.
Bob Mansfield will lead a new group, Technologies, which combines all of our wireless teams across the company in one organization, allowing us to innovate in this area at an even higher level. This organization will also include all of our semiconductor teams, who have some very ambitious plans. As part of this, I am thrilled to tell you that Bob will remain with Apple for an additional two years. Bob has led some of our most challenging engineering projects for many years.
Samsung remains the sole provider of Apple’s AX series chips in its iOS devices, but recent reports, later confirmed by WSJ, claimed Apple has struck a deal with TSMC with collaboration between the two companies likely to kick off in 2014. The deal seemed to support theories that Apple was looking to reduce its reliance on its biggest competitor in the smartphone space, Samsung, something it’s reportedly done for other components Samsung provides such as screens and NAND chips.
How the chip stocks are doing today: