At a press conference, ZDNet says that Samsung president of the company’s semiconductor arm is looking forward to reversing its profit forecasts when it starts producing chips for Apple using its next-generation technology.
Kim Ki-nam, president of the Korean electronic giant’s semiconductor business and head of System LSI business, told reporters at Samsung’s headquarters in Seoul that once the company begins to supply Apple with chips using its latest technology, profits “will improve positively”.
Samsung is expected to start producing application processors (APs) for clients such as Apple, Qualcomm, and AMD, using its 14-nanometre process around the end of the year.
Effectively, Samsung has all but confirmed that it is signed up to manufacture Apple’s next-generation SoC for iPhones and iPads, likely named ‘A9’, probably using a 14 nanometer process. The current A8 chip is produced using 20 nanometer fabrication, with most orders being taken by TSMC.
Although Samsung produces about 30% of Apple’s A8 chips, this is down from last year (where it made 100% of Apple’s A7 SoC’s) causing profits to fall. It is currently unclear whether TSMC would be able to meet Apple’s demands for 2015 processors, as its 14 nanometer fabs do not appear to be ready. TSMC is currently expecting to produce 16 nanometer chips in 2015, meaning there is an opening for Samsung to gain exclusive rights to Apple SoC production once again.
As to what devices might incorporate the new chip, if Apple follows tradition both the 2015 iPhones and iPads will get the new chip. It is also a possibility that the rumored 12.9 inch iPad Pro will also feature a new Apple SoC (whether that be an ‘A9’ or an ‘A8X’) for additional performance.