Although Samsung has long been making Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s A-series processors, there’s a second company getting in on it. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (NYSE:TSM) is said to be taking on part of the production, although Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) will continue making Apple’s chips until at least 2015.
TSMC to take the bulk of Apple’s 2015 chip orders
DigiTimes reports that Samsung signed on to produce processors to be used in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s smartphones in 2015. The company was said to have signed a deal for 14 / 16 nm FinFET chips.
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Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (NYSE:TSM) is believed to be the company handling most of the production for the 20 nm A-series processors for Apple’s 2014 smartphones. In fact, back in June, there were reports that TSMC would be ramping production of the 2014 chips after this month, suggesting that Apple might be prepared to launch the next iPhone in the first half of the year as some analysts have been saying.
According to this week’s report from the Taiwanese website, TSMC has also taken part of the production volume for Apple’s 2015 20 nm A-series chips from Samsung. According to the report, TSMC will manufacture between 60% and 70% of Apple’s 14 / 15 nm orders, while Samsung will take just 30% to 40% of those orders.
The website also indicates that TSMC and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) could end up splitting Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s 2014 A-series processor orders evenly. CNET reports separately that TSMC is said to be already making Apple’s A-series processors. However, it is unclear whether the company is producing them at commercial volumes or whether they are currently in smaller pilot production amounts.
Brooke Crothers of CNET notes that it is difficult to pin down exactly which supplier is making which chips for Apple or any other customer because these details are closely guarded, both by the customer and also the manufacturer. In addition, chip makers are notorious for seeing production problems. There had been rumors that TSMC would make Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s chips in the past, but the company was said to have experienced production issues. In addition, the company was said to have disagreed with Apple on some key issues.
Rumors about Apple dumping Samsung and going to TSMC have been circling for quite some time. However, as these reports indicate, Apple may not be ready to pull all of its faith in TSMC quite yet.