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.

The change to TSMC from Samsung for fabricating the A-series chip powering the iOS device is significant as Apple has previously relied on Samsung for the job.

Apple’s new 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus are clearly targeted to compete with the Samsung Galaxy and Samsung Galaxy Note Android handsets as Apple moved away from the 4-inch display on the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5s of previous generations.

The inspection of the A8 chip found in both new iPhone models is also confirmed to use a 20 nm process as The Journal’s July report said to expect. That compares to the 28 nm processor of the A7 chip found in the iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and iPad mini with Retina display (fabricated by Samsung) making the new chip both more power and energy efficient. During the iPhone launch keynote, Apple SVP of Marketing Phil Schiller said that Apple was able to fit the 2B transistors of the A8 in less space than the 1B transistors in the A7.

The decision on Apple’s part to use TSMC over Samsung for the new A8 chip is said to have impacted Samsung’s profits earlier this year, although Samsung could return to produce future chips.

TSMC has long been expected to replace Samsung in the A8 fabrication process.

Aside from relying on a different company involved in the production process, Apple’s A8 processor found in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus boasts up to 25% faster CPU performance and up to 50% faster graphics as revealed by Apple during the September 12th iPhone 6 announcement.

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About the Author

Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news, hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast, and created