a9 Stories February 15, 2016

Apple chipmaker TSMC said that the earthquake that hit southern Taiwan earlier this month caused damage that will impact production, but has not yet given a clear indication of the scale of the problem. The company is one of two chip fabricators for the iPhone 6s, and is expected to be the sole manufacturer of the A10 chip for the iPhone 7.

The 6.4-magnitude earthquake on February 6 killed 116 people and injured many more, with significant damage also caused to manufacturing facilities …

expand full story

a9 Stories December 3, 2015

KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a good track record on what if not when, says that Apple’s new 4-inch iPhone will “resemble an upgraded iPhone 5s,” but will get some new internals. Externally, he suggests the main visible difference will be similar curved-edge glass to the iPhone 6/6s.

Beneath the hood, he says the phone – expected to be dubbed the iPhone 6c – will get an A9 processor and NFC chip to support Apple Pay. The camera will, however, be identical to that in the 5s. Kuo’s investment note also supports recent reports that the 6c will get a metal case, stating that it will be available in at least 2-3 colors.

Kuo expects the phone to hit in the first quarter of next year, but does think that it may generate relatively modest sales …  expand full story

a9 Stories October 14, 2015

Two key Apple suppliers fighting for control of Taiwanese chip company – billions at stake, say analysts

The WSJ reports that Foxconn and the world’s largest chip assembler, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE), are fighting for control of the number three company in the chip assembly business, SPIL. ASE assembles chips used in the Apple Watch, while SPIL last year started supplying chips for iPhones.

ASE had planned to take a controlling interest in SPIL in order to protect its market-leading position and remain one jump ahead of competitors. Key iPhone assembly company Foxconn, however, persuaded the company that it would do better by collaborating with the Chinese firm in order to win more of Apple’s business.

SPIL shareholders will vote on the proposed deal with Foxconn tomorrow. Although ASE had already bought some shares in the company, it did so too late to qualify for vote, so has instead sent a letter to other SPIL shareholders urging them to vote against the motion.

All three companies are competing for system-in-package (SiP) orders from Apple, which analysts say will be worth billions of dollars.

There is huge competition for Apple’s business among chip manufacturers and assemblers, with Apple reportedly playing off Samsung and TSMC against each other in order to squeeze out last-minute price cuts for the A9 chip. Samsung’s recent return to profit was attributed to the chips it supplies to Apple.

a9 Stories October 8, 2015

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

a9 Stories October 7, 2015

Samsung sees first profit growth in two years – but thanks to Apple, not to phone sales

Samsung has today forecast a reversal of its seven-quarter decline in profits, suggesting an impressive year-on-year hike of almost 80%. But while the company itself hasn’t released any details on where the profit is coming from, analysts cited by the WSJ and elsewhere put it down to strong growth in sales of chips and displays – not phone sales.

This suggests that Samsung is making its money by helping other manufacturers sell their phones – with Apple’s record-breaking iPhone 6s sales doubtless playing a significant role. Apple split its A9 chip orders between Samsung and TSMC.

While the mobile-phone business isn’t likely to see a significant rebound as growth in global demand for smartphones cool amid saturated markets, Samsung’s earnings are being powered by strong growth in its chip business due to tight supply and firm pricing, analysts say. Samsung’s chip unit likely accounted for about half of the company’s profit in the third quarter, analysts said, while strong sales of displays to Chinese smartphone makers also contributed to its bottom line.

Samsung is estimating that its Q3 profits rose to 7.3 trillion Korean won ($6.3B), its first year-on-year growth since the same quarter in 2013.

a9 Stories September 28, 2015

According to Chipworks, there are actually two different sized A9 processors floating around in the iPhone 6s and 6s plus released last week. That’s not really a surprise because Apple likes to have redundancy, especially when one of the manufacturers is Samsung. We’d heard that both Samsung and TSMC would be producing A9 processors destined for the iPhone 6s.

However, there appears to be a difference in size of the two A9s which might play a role in how the iPhone performs…

expand full story

Powered by WordPress.com VIP