Respected analyst Ming Chi-Kuo from KGI Securities has this evening issued an investor note in which he predicts sales for Apple’s latest tablet, iPad Pro. Kuo predicts in his note that Apple will sell between 2.4 million and 2.6 million iPad Pro units in the fourth quarter of 2015. As we head into 2016, Kuo expects those numbers to slide slightly to between 2.1 million units and 2.3 million units.
With the recent revelation that Apple had (not unexpectedly) sourced the A9 processor in the iPhone 6s from two different suppliers came the discovery that the model manufactured by Samsung is 10% smaller than the one built by TSMC.
Along with the size difference comes a difference in the power efficiency of each model, with many reports indicating—and Apple eventually confirming—that phones with the Samsung chip will likely see 2-3% lower battery life.
Today Ars Technica has published its own findings based on the results of a set of battery tests on each processor, showing that the TSMC hardware outpaces Samsung’s in most test categories, but not all.
After some debate over whether the difference between iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models made with Samsung or TSMC chips may impact battery life, Apple has offered its own take on the matter:
Our testing and customer data show the actual battery life of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, even taking into account variable component differences, vary within just 2-3% of each other.”
That 2-3% difference may be greater than some suspected, myself included, considering how tight battery life on iPhones can be with moderate to heavy usage. Apple’s full statement (via Ars Technica) actually addresses the type of battery tests many testers reference when measuring performance as being unrealistic: expand full story
We’ve heard and read a lot about Apple going with two different manufacturers for the A9 chip in its iPhone 6s. Some models ship with a processor made by TSMC while others come with a Samsung-made component. While you’d expect that Apple would ensure both are built to offer comparable performance, it appears that may not be the case. It’s already been revealed by Chipworks that the Sammy model is 10% smaller, but if a couple of videos recently published are anything to go by, you might be better off with a TSMC model…
A new report suggests that Apple is playing A9 chip makers Samsung and TSMC against one another in the lead up to the launch of new iPhones, attempting to extract last-minute price reductions for its next-generation processors. According to the report from Digitimes, which has a mixed track record regarding upcoming Apple products, Apple is requesting lower prices from both companies. Though TSMC is “inclined to refuse,” Samsung has agreed to discount the chips, offering Apple “almost-free backend services” in an effort to “grab the majority of A9 chip orders.”
The report suggests that Apple is leveraging the novelty of the FinFET chip manufacturing process to extract concessions from TSMC, which has relatively few FinFET chip orders from other customers. A claimed reduction in Apple’s demand from 30,000 wafers per month to under 20,000 wafers would leave TSMC to make up a significant difference between Apple’s original order and the Taiwanese company’s FinFET production capacity. The impact on Apple’s upcoming A9X, which was believed to be handled by TSMC, is unclear…
September 23, 2014
A product teardown of both the new 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus devices last week confirmed earlier reports that Apple is indeed opting for TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) to produce the 20nm, second generation 64-bit A8 chip that drives the new iPhones. Research firm IHS, however, has shared a teardown analysis report with Re/code that claims Samsung is still responsible for a fraction of Apple’s A8 chips produced.
Rassweiler said the processor he saw during the teardown was manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the massive chip-factory-for-hire based in Taipei. […] Rassweiler says TSMC is manufacturing about 60 percent of the chips for Apple, while Samsung is still turning about about 40 percent.
September 19, 2014
As the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus hits retail and reaches customers today, the teardown process to find out exactly what’s inside of the new iPhones this year has already begun with iFixit kicking off their live stream of the process this morning and comparing the new battery sizes for the new devices. In addition to the usual list of internals you would expect to find in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, though, and a more nuanced detail iFixit notes as discovered Chipworks.
The second-generation 64-bit chip powering the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus that Apple calls the A8 is confirmed by Chipworks to have been fabricated by TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) as we told you The Wall Street Journal reported in July. expand full story
August 25, 2014
We’re still just over two weeks away from the anticipated iPhone 6 event reportedly scheduled for September 9th where Apple is expected to debut the next generation of iPhone hardware including a more powerful, efficient A8 system-on-a-chip.
Worry not, though, about the next, next generation iPhone rumors, Apple watchers, as a report from Chinese publication Economic Daily News (via Digitimes) shares that TSMC, or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, plans to “advance volume production on its 16nm process” during the beginning of 2015 “with monthly output of 50,000 wafers” to deliver Apple’s A9 system-on-a-chip. expand full story
August 5, 2014
Samsung has been having some issues lately, reporting falling profits in the most recent quarter. Although most of this is due to shrinking growth in phone sales, where Apple continues to dominate in terms of profit share, Apple has also affected Samsung’s income from its microprocessor production business. With TSMC having exclusivity over Apple’s A8 production, to be used in the upcoming iPhone 6, Samsung’s outlook for ‘logic chips’ is also gloomy, as The Wall Street Journal highlights in a new report.
Samsung executives admitted on a recent conference call that the outlook isn’t so bright for this business.
“Sales and profitability from System LSI (logic chip business) worsened as demand from main customers continued to decline,” Robert Yi, Samsung’s head of investor relations said last week. His comments confirmed, albeit indirectly, how Apple’s gradual shift away from Samsung as a customer of microprocessors was eating into its profits.
July 10, 2014
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple has finally escaped Samsung’s grasp of iOS device CPU production. Although Samsung lost exclusivity last year, there was still doubts that TSMC would be able to follow through with their contract. According to this report, the manufacturer has succeeded and started shipping next-generation microprocessors for Apple’s devices (likely adorned with the ‘A8’ nomenclature) in the second quarter.
This marks a significant point in the production of the iPhone, finally allowing Apple to distance itself from Samsung in such a key area of its devices. The A8 chips use 20-nanometer production processes, according to the report. This compares favorably to the 28-nanometer process used for the A7, which should give better power efficiency and performance per watt. 9to5Mac previously reported that the A8 would focus on significant efficiency enhancements, rather than raw compute performance.
May 7, 2014
September 30, 2013
June 28, 2013
Corroborating a Digitimes report from earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has finally struck a deal with chip producer TSMC for future iOS devices. The report says that the two firms inked the deal earlier this month, but the collaboration will only likely come into affect in 2014. With Apple’s development of new iPads and iPhones for late 2013 well under-way, TSMC-built chips will only likely be found in Apple’s iPhones and iPads to follow the upcoming iPhone 5S, new low-cost iPhone, and new iPads.
While this deal will not push Samsung’s chip production completely out of Apple’s field-of-view, it will let the Cupertino Mac and iPhone maker reduce its reliance on the business of its fiercest competitor. The WSJ also corroborates numerous reports by saying that Apple has moved, in recent years, away from Samsung for the screens that are fit on the front-faces of iOS devices and NAND chips that store files. The WSJ shares that Apple and TSMC have been working on partnership possibilities for a number of years:
June 24, 2013
A report out of DigiTimes this morning claims that TSMC has reached a deal with Apple to supply 20nm, 16nm and 10nm chips for future Apple devices. However, as is often the case with DigiTimes, there are a few causes for concern surrounding the report. Leaving the site’s track record on other rumors aside, we must point out that rumors of TSMC supplying chips for Apple’s device are nothing new. In fact, DigiTimes itself reported back in 2011 that Apple would tap the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company in a move away from its long-time supplier and biggest rival Samsung. Needless to say, it hasn’t happened yet, and there’s no proof as of yet to back up follow up reports from last year claiming Apple entered an agreement with the company. DigiTimes isn’t even the first to report it this year: expand full story
January 2, 2013
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has been contracted by Apple to soon manufacture A6X chips, according to a report from Taiwan-based Commercial Times (via France24). The move, which has been speculated by media in the recent months, is said to reduce Apple’s reliance on South Korean-based Samsung, who has been responsible for many of Apple’s chips in recent years. The folks in Cupertino introduced the A6X chip in the fourth-generation iPad in October, and it is expected to go into TSMC’s hands, rather than Samsung’s, during the first quarter of this year for trial production.
For those unfamiliar, TSMC is the world’s largest dedicated independent semiconductor foundry. The trial that will be underway during the first quarter will presumably be in-place to see if the company can keep with Apple’s high demand that must be appeased with devices in stock. Past the powerful A6X chip, Apple has been rumored to make the switch to TSMC’s 20nm process for quad-core processors over the next couple of years in the iPad, “iTV” (Apple TV?), and MacBook, while iPhone’s will remain with duo-core chips.
October 12, 2012
August 29, 2012
Apple and Qualcomm were denied, according to Bloomberg, when they tried to obtain exclusive chip production rights from Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.
Both put forward more than $1 billion in investments so TSMC would pledge production capacity to them, but the manufacturer rebuffed the bid to keep versatile in chip yielding.
The two companies are trying to satisfy booming demand for smartphones, a market estimated by to be worth $219.1 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Industries. Any deal would give Apple an alternate supplier to Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), which builds the main chip used in the iPhone and iPad and is also its biggest rival in smartphones. Qualcomm needs to boost supply, since shortages are starting to limit earnings.
As a supplier to Qualcomm, Broadcom Corp. (BRCM), Nvidia Corp. (NVDA) and other companies that no longer operate their own factories, TSMC wants to keep the flexibility to switch its production between customers and products. TSMC ChairmanMorris Chang told investors last month that he was willing to devote one or even two factories to a single customer.
One read of the story is that Apple wants to bail on Samsung and its new Texas foundry for CPU production. Qualcomm, on the other hand, is experiencing an insufficient ability to produce chips, which is starting to affect its earnings. TSMC forewarned that its 28nm mill for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 would not meet demand until 2013, and NVidia’s 23nm Keplar graphic chip, also manufactured by TSMC, has suffered much the same as Qualcomm.
There have been false CPU rumors regarding Apple and TSMC in the past. The Qualcomm and Apple rumor here might actually be for baseband chips, which Qualcomm makes for Apple. With the new iPhone, Apple is probably trying to ramp up those Qualcomm baseband chips in epic numbers (not the A5 processor, as implied by the story). expand full story
September 15, 2011
The rumors have been going on for months, but Digitimes is today saying Apple’s new processor foundry is Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). The move by Apple is believed to be precipitated by Apple’s ongoing legal battles with Samsung, who has provided Apple with processors since the original iPhone was released in 2007 through Apple’s release of “its own” A4 processor and A5 iPad processor earlier this year.
Apple has recently signed a foundry partnership agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), industry sources have claimed. Under the terms of the agreement, TSMC will apply its 28nm and 20nm process technologies to produce Apple’s next-generation CPUs, according to the sources.
The contract appears to be long and lucrative for TSMC..
TSMC is believed to have quietly secured Apple’s contract, and even succeeded in extending the deal to cover the manufacture for the A6’s successor, the sources said.
In addition, the agreed contract quotes are favorable to bring little impact on TSMC’s profitability, the sources revealed. TSMC managed to negotiate a good price, allowing gross margins yielded by Apple’s orders to be similar to its overall gross margin performance at present, the sources indicated. TSMC’s gross margin for the second quarter of 2011 arrived at 46%.
The details weren’t released publicly and as can be expected, neither company is commenting on the move.