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
June 24, 2013
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.
Broadcom is a major Apple supplier, providing both WiFi+Bluetooth and GPS chips for iPhone 4, pictured above. Image courtesy of iFixit
DigiTimes reported yesterday that TSMC’s expected third-quarter revenues will exceed July guidance, thanks to some “rush” orders from their customers which count such fabless chip makers as Qualcomm, Broadcom, MediaTek and MStar Semiconductor. Bloomberg’s supply chain analyst Richard Davenport is convinced TSMC’s revenue boost is linked to Broadcom:
Broadcom is the largest link between Apple and Taiwan Semiconductor. Broadcom appears to be a likely candidate for Taiwan Semiconductor’s rush orders.
How can he tell Apple is behind this supposed Broadcom order? First of all, all the other semiconductor makers – with the exception of Broadcom – have reduced their estimates amid weakening economy. Add on top of that TSMC’s larger-than-expected revenue estimate and you get a positive anomaly amid the current semiconductor slump. At this moment, Apple may be the sole company that could have placed such a materially impacting order, most likely for iPhone/iPad parts.
The notion is shared by William Blair & Co. chip analyst Anil Doradla. He said the last-minute order could be the result of a new Apple deal for iPhone chips with Broadcom. After all, Apple is Qualcom’s largest customer, accounting for an estimated eleven percent of sales. Broadcom supplies Apple with the WiFi+Bluetooth silicon and the GPS chip for iPad and iPhone and has been a supplier since the original iPhone. However, this “rushed” order may not be related to iPhone 5, Davenport warns:
September 8, 2011
We heard back in March that Apple might have been considering giving its chip making contract to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). Reuters and Taiwan Economic News later followed-up, claiming TSMC had already begun test runs of Apple’s A6 processor. Per both stories, the A6 chip will be manufactured on TSMC’s 28-nanometer process and is coming in the second quarter of 2012, conveniently matching the expected iPad 3 arrival.
DigiTimes this morning quoted TSMC’s head or research and development Shang-yi Chiang who confirms his company is gearing up for mass manufacturing of 28-nanometer chips:
Chiang claimed that TSMC has received enough orders to fully utilize its 28nm production capacity. Its 28nm process technology will be available for mass production in early 2012, Chiang said.
He also said TSMC will begin research on the 14-nanometer process next year and expects to begin volume production on the node in 2015. They’ll be using 18-inch wafers to process 14-nanometer chips because it helps bring production costs down, which should be music to Apple’s ears. The report doesn’t mention Apple directly, mind you, but it is no secret that the Samsung-Apple relationship is deteriorating at record rates. Consider this…
August 12, 2011
Taiwan Economic News is reporting that local Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd (TSMC), the company slated to supply Apple with the A6 processor after a shift from Samsung, has begun trials of the new chip made with the company’s “newest 28-nanometer process and 3D stacking technologies”. However, dont expect to see the A6 in a new iteration of the iPad anytime soon, as the report suggests the processor wont be officially unveiled until Q2 of next year, at the earliest.
Included in the report:
TSMC has applied its newest 28-nanometer process and 3D stacking technologies to produce the next-generation processor A6, which is based on the ARM architecture and will undergo TSMC’s cutting-edge silicon interposer and bump on trace (BOT) methodologies. Industry insiders said that the manufacturing will help to pump considerable momentum into TSMC’s business growth starting next year, though the company has yet to comment on the deal for the moment.
This contradicts an earlier report thru Reuters which stated that test production had already begun in July. Both reports agreed that the final A6 processors would be complete and ready for iPad 3 in early 2012. EETimes had reported the move back in March which was said to involve Apple’s current A5 chip but that never materialized.
An Apple switch to TSMC would obviously be a huge blow to ‘frenemy’ Samsung who currently makes the iPad CPU, DRAM and supplies Flash storage as well.
July 14, 2011
According to Reuters, Apple and Taiwan-based manufacturer TSMC have begun a test production run of A6 processors for future Apple devices. TSMC is yet to be confirmed as the producer of Apple’s A6 chip when it ships sometime in the future, but the decision is said to be “authorized.” The only thing holding back the deal is the potential yield rate of the manufacturing.
Besides Apple already testing production of their next-generation processor, the most interesting part is that Apple will apparently move their custom chip production away from Samsung. Samsung is the company behind the manufacturing of the A5 dual-core processor that is found in the iPad 2. This A5 chip will also likely power the fifth-generation iPhone that is due in September of this year.
Apple’s A6 processor will likely debut in 2012 alongside a 3rd generation iPad. Apple’s past history has shown that the iPad is the first device to feature a new-generation of custom processors. The iPhone and iPod touch typically follow up months later with the same chip, usually custom designed for the smaller, more mobile form factor. Another possibility is that Apple will beef up the processor in the iPad, with the rumored ‘iPad HD’ in September.
March 9, 2011
We’re not sure if this has already happened, but EETimes reports on the rumors that Apple has shifted its A5 production from Samsung to TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company). Since no one has seen a real A5 processor yet, we don’t know if Apple has already switched.
Perhaps most damning, the art that Apple has put out on its A5 Chips is actually just an A4 Chip with ‘A5’ superimposed over top(!) See same part numbers around the edges above. Does this mean that Apple has something to hide? (They always do)
The move would make logistical sense as Apple’s current (former?) partner in processor manufacturing, Samsung, is increasingly becoming a competitor in both iOS devices and in PCs. Apple was supposed to take $7.8Billion in parts from Samsung this year. Might be time to adjust that estimate.
Sony Corporation has issued an official news release in regards to the status of their manufacturing companies in Japan after the Kumamoto earthquakes. Having confirmed the safety of their employees in the affected regions, Sony has listed out a few details of the manufacturing sites that have been impacted as result of the earthquake.
As the iPhone SE is slowly beginning to reach the hand’s of customers around the world, the folks at ChipWorks have already been able to take Apple’s latest 4-inch phone apart to see what’s powering it all on the inside. It’s often been said the iPhone SE is an iPhone 6s crammed into the body of an iPhone 5/5s, and for the most part, it looks like that really is the case.
November 3, 2015
Generally reliable KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has today shared an investment note in which he breaks down what Apple will do in terms of its smartphones come 2016. In the note, Kuo claims that Apple is still working on a refreshed 4-inch iPhone model…
October 23, 2015
The iPhone 6s/Plus seems pretty popular already in Samsung’s home market of Korea, despite only going on sale today. All three major carriers earlier reported that they quickly sold out when the new iPhones were made available for pre-order on Monday. Now Patently Apple notes queues of hundreds of people at retail stores, with some having waited in line for 24 hours … expand full story
October 16, 2015
October 14, 2015
October 7, 2015
September 28, 2015
However, there appears to be a difference in size of the two A9s which might play a role in how the iPhone performs…
September 2, 2015
A rough date has been set for round five of the battle over Samsung’s infringements of Apple patents in five of its products. The Recorder reports that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh has said that the revised damages will be determined by a jury trial in March or April 2016.
In case you need a refresher, the story so far is this. In round 1, the first jury trial, Apple was awarded $1B in damages. In round 2, Judge Koh vacated $450M of that award and ordered a retrial to determine a revised sum. Round 3 was that jury trial, with Apple awarded a lower sum of $290M – making a revised total of $930M. In round 4, the US appeals court ruled that while Samsung did indeed copy iOS features, it should not have been penalised for copying the general look of the iPhone, and therefore the damages should be reduced. The new trial, to revise those damages, will be round 5.
Unless, that is, the Supreme Court intervenes … expand full story