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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The report also says that Apple and TSMC have already agreed to ‘work together on more advanced chips’ for 2015. The diversification of suppliers should also help with price competitiveness during negotiations. They apparently want to begin using 16 nanometer technology as early as next year. It is currently unclear whether TSMC will be the only company responsible for A8 production, although it seems likely that Apple will not be able to cut off Samsung completely just yet.
While today’s report comes from the often reliable Wall Street Journal, we’ve heard rumors of a deal with TSMC for almost four years now. Several reports in recent years have claimed Apple could tap Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company in a move away from its long-time supplier and biggest rival Samsung. It hasn’t happened yet, but today’s report is the first we’ve heard from a solid source that an agreement has indeed been reached between the companies.