Apple rethinking Samsung partnership for processors
In the wake of its court battles with Korea's Samsung Electronics, Apple Inc. may be turning to another semiconductor maker for its A6 and related chips, a tech site reported Saturday.
CNET cited sources who said Apple may be in the process of shifting chip production from Samsung to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.
"Apple is working with TSMC at 20 nanometers," it quoted Gus Richard, a chip analyst at Piper Jaffray, as saying.
Richard was referring to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's most advanced 20-nanometer manufacturing process.
He said it is likely Apple may send its designs to TSMC to see if they can make it early 2013, and probably be in production by the end of 2013.
CNET said another chip industry source confirmed this.
"The Apple-Samsung relationship has deteriorated to such a poor point that they're just looking to fill contractual obligations, then make a change," said the source, who corroborated the move to TSMC at 20 nanometers.
But CNET also noted such a shift may have a major impact on other TSMC customers.
Richard said that with TSMC having allocated a "disproportionate amount of resources" to Apple, this may have pushed out other TSMC customers.
But Richard said such a shift will not happen overnight.
"They'll ramp down Samsung and ramp up TSMC. And some products will get some of one and some of the other," he said.
Richard also said he has heard Intel and Apple are talking again, for a 14-nanometer process, adding there is no done deal at this stage. — TJD, GMA News