Korea Times claims Samsung will be lead supplier for next year’s A-series chips

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Korea Times is claiming that a deal has been struck with Apple for Samsung to supply 80% of the chips for next year’s iPhones and iPads, with TSMC picking up the balance of orders.

Samsung Electronics agreed with Apple to produce application processors (APs) from next year for iPhones and iPads, sources said Monday.

The agreement means Samsung will become a primary supplier of APs to Apple, pushing its chief Taiwanese rival TSMC back to second place. From 2016, the company will supply 80 percent of APs used in Apple devices, and TSMC the remainder.

The paper suggests that Samsung will split production of the A9 chip across its Korean and Texas plants, partnering with New York-based GlobalFoundries for additional capacity …
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Research firm IHS says Samsung supplying 40% of iPhone 6 A8 chips despite move to TSMC

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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.

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Chipworks Teardown confirms Apple using TSMC for 20nm A8 chip in iPhone 6, not Samsung

Chipworks A8 TSMC iPhone 6

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. Read more

TSMC expected to begin 16nm volume production for Apple’s A9 chip in early 2015

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. Read more

Samsung’s SoC profits down as Apple chooses TSMC for A8, although rumor says it will produce processors for iPhone 7

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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.

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TSMC shipping Apple’s SoC’s for the first time with iPhone 6 says report, will use 20nm process

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Up to this year, all of Apple’s SoC’s have been manufactured by Samsung.

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.

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Despite court battles, Apple switches back to Samsung as main iPad display supplier

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The court battles between the two companies doesn’t seem to have harmed Samsung’s position as a key supplier of components to Apple. DisplaySearch figures show that Apple switched from LG to Samsung as the primary supplier of its display panels for iPad Air and iPad with Retina display last quarter, reports CNET.

Samsung Display reclaimed its position as the top iPad display panel supplier, shipping 5.2 million units of 9.7-inch panels with a resolution of 2,048×1,536, accounting for 62 percent of total shipments of that display size and resolution […]

LG Display […] saw its share of that display size/resolution plunge to 38 percent in the first quarter from about 61 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 …

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Reports: A8 won’t feature integrated LTE yet, low yield rates pushing Samsung out of the process?

Image via iFixit

Two new reports out today are offering a bit of early insight into what to expect from Apple’s next A-series SoC, or system on a chip, that powers its iPhone and iPad devices.

The first tidbit from Fudzilla says Apple will once again rely on Qualcomm for LTE chips in the next round of iOS devices rather than an A8 chip with LTE integrated. So what does this mean? It’s probably safe to assume Apple will save a SoC which includes the LTE modem in a future iteration.

Generally, the fewer chips required in a mobile device, the better optimized for battery life the device is. Apple, of course, must strive to engineer battery life parity, if not improvements, as our devices get more powerful each generation.

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Apple reportedly partners into chip fab to bring processor manufacturing in-house

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…

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Three years later, DigiTimes still insists Apple will ditch Samsung for TSMC

tsmc-560x369-560x300A 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: Read more

Apple releases iOS 6.1.4 for iPhone 5 with updated speakerphone profile

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Apple has just released a new iOS .1.4 software update for the iPhone 5 that includes an updated speakerphone profile. That’s really it as far as public updates but Apple often updates some stuff behind the scenes including some bug fixes and security updates. The 11.5MB update (kinda big for just a profile, no?) is for iPhone 5 only and can be downloaded directly at the following links:

iPhone5,1 (iPhone5,1) 6.1.4 (10B350) 05/02/2013 13:07:01
iPhone5,2 (iPhone5,2) 6.1.4 (10B350) 05/02/2013 13:07:01

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Apple A6 X processor production reportedly goes from Samsung to TSMC, trial set to begin this quarter

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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.

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