TSMC Stories October 12, 2015

AAPL: 111.60

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With the recent revelation that Apple had (not unexpectedly) sourced the A9 processor in the iPhone 6s from two different suppliers came the discovery that the model manufactured by Samsung is 10% smaller than the one built by TSMC.

Along with the size difference comes a difference in the power efficiency of each model, with many reports indicating—and Apple eventually confirming—that phones with the Samsung chip will likely see 2-3% lower battery life.

Today Ars Technica has published its own findings based on the results of a set of battery tests on each processor, showing that the TSMC hardware outpaces Samsung’s in most test categories, but not all.

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TSMC Stories October 8, 2015

AAPL: 110.78

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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

We’ve heard and read a lot about Apple going with two different manufacturers for the A9 chip in its iPhone 6s. Some models ship with a processor made by TSMC while others come with a Samsung-made component. While you’d expect that Apple would ensure both are built to offer comparable performance, it appears that may not be the case. It’s already been revealed by Chipworks that the Sammy model is 10% smaller, but if a couple of videos recently published are anything to go by, you might be better off with a TSMC model…

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TSMC Stories September 28, 2015

AAPL: 112.44

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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…

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TSMC Stories August 26, 2015

AAPL: 109.69

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TSMC Stories August 12, 2015

AAPL: 115.24

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A new report suggests that Apple is playing A9 chip makers Samsung and TSMC against one another in the lead up to the launch of new iPhones, attempting to extract last-minute price reductions for its next-generation processors. According to the report from Digitimes, which has a mixed track record regarding upcoming Apple products, Apple is requesting lower prices from both companies. Though TSMC is “inclined to refuse,” Samsung has agreed to discount the chips, offering Apple “almost-free backend services” in an effort to “grab the majority of A9 chip orders.”

The report suggests that Apple is leveraging the novelty of the FinFET chip manufacturing process to extract concessions from TSMC, which has relatively few FinFET chip orders from other customers. A claimed reduction in Apple’s demand from 30,000 wafers per month to under 20,000 wafers would leave TSMC to make up a significant difference between Apple’s original order and the Taiwanese company’s FinFET production capacity. The impact on Apple’s upcoming A9X, which was believed to be handled by TSMC, is unclear…

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