August 12, 2011

Taiwan Economic News is reporting that local Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd (TSMC), the company slated to supply Apple with the A6 processor after a shift from Samsung, has begun trials of the new chip made with the company’s “newest 28-nanometer process and 3D stacking technologies”. However, dont expect to see the A6 in a new iteration of the iPad anytime soon, as the report suggests the processor wont be officially unveiled until Q2 of next year, at the earliest.

Included in the report:

TSMC has applied its newest 28-nanometer process and 3D stacking technologies to produce the next-generation processor A6, which is based on the ARM architecture and will undergo TSMC’s cutting-edge silicon interposer and bump on trace (BOT) methodologies. Industry insiders said that the manufacturing will help to pump considerable momentum into TSMC’s business growth starting next year, though the company has yet to comment on the deal for the moment.

This contradicts an earlier report thru Reuters which stated that test production had already begun in July.  Both reports agreed that the final A6 processors would be complete and ready for iPad 3 in early 2012.  EETimes had reported the move back in March which was said to involve Apple’s current A5 chip but that never materialized.

An Apple switch to TSMC would obviously be a huge blow to ‘frenemy’ Samsung who currently makes the iPad CPU, DRAM and supplies Flash storage as well.

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July 14, 2011

According to Reuters, Apple and Taiwan-based manufacturer TSMC have begun a test production run of A6 processors for future Apple devices. TSMC is yet to be confirmed as the producer of Apple’s A6 chip when it ships sometime in the future, but the decision is said to be “authorized.” The only thing holding back the deal is the potential yield rate of the manufacturing.

Besides Apple already testing production of their next-generation processor, the most interesting part is that Apple will apparently move their custom chip production away from Samsung. Samsung is the company behind the manufacturing of the A5 dual-core processor that is found in the iPad 2. This A5 chip will also likely power the fifth-generation iPhone that is due in September of this year.

Apple’s A6 processor will likely debut in 2012 alongside a 3rd generation iPad. Apple’s past history has shown that the iPad is the first device to feature a new-generation of custom processors. The iPhone and iPod touch typically follow up months later with the same chip, usually custom designed for the smaller, more mobile form factor. Another possibility is that Apple will beef up the processor in the iPad, with the rumored ‘iPad HD’ in September.

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March 9, 2011

same numbers!

We’re not sure if this has already happened, but EETimes reports on the rumors that Apple has shifted its A5 production from Samsung to TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company).  Since no one has seen a real A5 processor yet, we don’t know if Apple has already switched.

Perhaps most damning, the art that Apple has put out on its A5 Chips is actually just an A4 Chip with ‘A5’ superimposed over top(!) See same part numbers around the edges above.  Does this mean that Apple has something to hide? (They always do)

The move would make logistical sense as Apple’s current (former?) partner in processor manufacturing, Samsung, is increasingly becoming a competitor in both iOS devices and in PCs.  Apple was supposed to take $7.8Billion in parts from Samsung this year.  Might be time to adjust that estimate.

With little or no fanfare, Apple and TSMC have recently entered into a foundry relationship, sources said. As reported, TSMC will make the A5 dual-core processor on a foundry basis for Apple’s iPad 2. That can be read here and here.

We reported on Apple’s move to Qualcomm (from Infineon) who use TSMC’s process for GOBI chips in October. expand full story

August 21

AAPL: 157.21

-0.29

iPhone 8 parts continue to appear on Chinese social media as the official unveiling September Apple event draws closer. Whilst a timeframe has yet to leak out, historical patterns point to September 6th as a likely date.

In this latest leaks (via Slashleaks), various purported components for the iPhone 8 are on show, including the flex cables for power transfer, part of the internal components for the Lightning cable and the display assembly (with the notch, as expected). More photos below …

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July 18

AAPL: 150.08

0.52

A report out of Korea says that Samsung – dropped by Apple as a supplier for iPhone processor chips last year – will once more share production with TSMC from next year.

Apple used to split its A-series chip production between Samsung and TSMC, until switching exclusively to the Taiwanese company for the iPhone 7. TSMC kept its exclusive contract for the upcoming iPhone 8, but Samsung has reportedly succeeded in winning orders for the 2018 iPhone thanks to two factors …

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July 3

AAPL: 143.50

-0.52

June 27

AAPL: 143.73

-2.09

Apple’s highly anticipated 2017 iPhone cycle is a matter of months away, and the supply chain reports are rolling in as production ramps up. The iPhone 8 is expected to be a major upgrade with a new bezel-less design, stainless steel and glass chassis, and an 5.8-inch OLED display.

There are always stories about iPhone delays, although this year it feels like we have had more than ever. A new report from Digitimes blames OLED panel supply as the latest bottleneck in the production process …

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June 19

AAPL: 146.34

4.07

Building on various recently leaked parts, an alleged iPhone 8 screen protector is now making the rounds on Chinese social networking site Weibo. The screen protector was also shared on SlashLeaks and Twitter and reflects the iPhone 8’s smaller bezels and front-facing camera and speaker cutouts.

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June 14

AAPL: 145.16

-1.43

A well-known Apple supplier, Largan Precision, has announced that it is shipping 3D depth-sensing lenses in the second half of 2017 (via Nikkei). Although it didn’t identify brands by name, industry experts believe that these camera components are for the iPhone 8.

The special sensors will enable face recognition functionality, allowing users of the high-end iPhone to unlock their device just by looking at the screen. Largan already supplies most of the rear camera lenses used in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

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June 9

AAPL: 148.98

-6.01

Apple suppliers are reportedly mass producing components for the upcoming next-generation 2017 iPhones, via Digitimes. Corroborating the consensus rumors, Apple will introduce two ‘iPhone 7s’ phones, iterative updates to the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 7 models with a ‘reinforced glass’ chassis and aluminium frame.

Apple will also debut a major redesign ‘iPhone 8’ with 5.8-inch AMOLED display, metal frame (believed to be stainless steel) and the same reinforced glass chassis. Samsung will apparently supply 80 million panels for the iPhone 8 in 2017 alone.

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June 5

AAPL: 153.93

-1.52

Foxconn chairman Terry Gou has confirmed that Apple would be supporting the company’s bid to acquire Toshiba’s chip-making business. Interestingly, Amazon is also said to be contributing to the bid.

We first learned back in March that Foxconn was planning a bid to acquire Toshiba’s semiconductor business, which mostly makes flash storage chips. The following month, it was said to have increased its bid to $27B in an attempt to defeat rival bids, and it was later suggested that Apple would be seeking its own direct stake in the business …

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May 29

AAPL: 153.61

-0.26

Several iPhone 8 related leaks surfaced over the weekend, backing up a radical new chassis design first seen in April. The new schematics include the various characteristics we’ve seen reported for the OLED iPhone in the past including the elongated power button, vertical dual camera and lack of a physical home button.

Most notably, an orange outline traces the purported screen area of the iPhone 8. Based on this schematic, the screen will be effectively bezel-less on left, right and bottom sides whilst the top edge will cut inwards to accommodate the front camera, earpiece and sensors. More pictures after the jump …

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May 26

AAPL: 153.61

-0.26

A new report from Economic Daily News, via Digitimes, indicates that the iPhone 8 will use a new optical fingerprint sensor technology to enable users to place their fingers directly on the OLED display and have the phone scan the print, as an elegant replacement for the existing Touch ID home button.

The screen ratio will change from 16:9 on iPhone 7 to 18.5:9 (corroborating many other sources) and ‘invisible’ Infrared sensors will unlock enhanced camera and augmented reality features. Apparently, TSMC discussed these upcoming flagship iPhone features at a Taipei symposium.

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May 22

AAPL: 153.99

0.93

Although the iPhone 8 is apparently entering production verification testing this month, the rumor mill continues to disagree about several details of Apple’s upcoming radically-redesigned phone.

In this latest alleged schematics photo via Sneakleaks, an iPhone chassis is shown with a Touch ID fingerprint cutout below the Apple logo on the back of the device. This idea was last seen in an April leak. However, the rumors have not come to consensus and there are still many contradictory reports about the fate of the iPhone 8 Touch ID …

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May 20

AAPL: 153.06

0.52

Apple is expected to launch three new iPhone models this year, two iterative updates with similar industrial designs to  iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and one major radical new phone tentatively dubbed ‘iPhone 8’.

A new set of photos have surfaced on Weibo purporting to show molds for all three of the new phones. They don’t really reveal anything what we haven’t seen rumored before, but it’s interesting to see the new size in context. More photos after the jump …

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May 12

AAPL: 156.10

2.15

It’s been said several times that Apple’s latest iPhone 8 flagship will be its most expensive model to date, with reports claiming the device will come in at more than $1,000. Now, in the build up to the device’s announcement later this year, analysts are making predictions as to exactly how much the new flagship will cost…

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May 11

AAPL: 153.95

1.32

A supply-chain report from Korea Economic Daily (via The Investor) supports rumors that the iPhone 8 will include a 3D camera module capable of facial recognition.

The report states that the modules will be made by LG Innotek, which makes the dual-camera module for the iPhone 7 Plus, with initial orders worth around 200B won ($177M) …

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May 8

AAPL: 153.01

4.05

There have been a few reports recently about delays in the production pipeline for Apple’s next-generation iPhones. A new report from Economic Daily News claims that mass production of iPhone 8 and iPhone 7s is on track for the new iPhones to be announced by Apple in September and go on sale in October.

According to EDN, via Digitimes, one of the big issues was manufacturing of the new substrate-like circuit boards set to feature in all three new iPhones. Yields of these components have apparently now been improved.

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April 27

AAPL: 143.79

0.11

Although there are still many doubts about the iPhone 8 rumored design, mocked up above, a new schematic has surfaced on Weibo today. This drawing (embedded after the break below) is a more detailed version of what we saw yesterday and includes label annotations for many components.

The new dual front and (vertical) back cameras are visible and a rear Touch ID sensor is nowhere in sight, again implying it will be integrated into the OLED display. What’s most interesting about this latest leak though is that it indicates the parts used by the iPhone 8 for wireless charging …

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