Apple shifting A6X processor production from Samsung to TSMC: report

Apple shifting A6X processor production from Samsung to TSMC: report

Summary: A Taiwanese-based financial newspaper reports that Apple is preparing to further distance itself from Samsung by shifting iDevice processor production to TSMC.

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The days of Samsung producing processors for Apple's iDevices may be coming to an end according to a report that suggests the Cupertino giant may have shifted silicon production to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).

The report, which comes via Taiwanese-based newspaper The Commercial Times, suggests that Apple is further distancing itself from its competitor -- and legal foe -- Samsung. Given that both companies are locked in fierce patent battles across the world, this shift in production has been long rumored.

Apple's A6 processor
Apple's A6 processor

If the report is correct -- and there's no reason to suspect that it is not, given that it fits in well with other supply chain chatter -- the shift to TSMC will also mean that Apple's processors will see a shrinking of architecture. Samsung currently uses a 32-nanometer process to manufacture Apple's chips, but the report suggests that TSMC will switch to 28-nanometers, a move that will bring power-saving benefits.

Apple has also been busy hiring people with a significant amount of chip expertise, further suggesting that the company wants to take greater control over the processors that go into iOS devices.  

Apple's latest A6 and A6X processors are the company's most sophisticated design yet. A teardown of the chip carried out for iFixit by Chipworks revealed a complex design, suggests that the ARM core blocks had been laid out manually as opposed to using a computer in order to maximize performance.

According to iFixit's chief information architect Miroslav Djuric, the ARM cores inside the A6 "might be the only manual layout in a chip to hit the market in several years."

Image source: iFixit/Chipworks.

Topics: Apple, iPhone, iPad, Processors

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33 comments
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  • It was going to happen eventually.

    The only question was how long it would take.

    Oh, another good one is what the next step in the fight is.
    Michael Alan Goff
    • But tabloids reported that since 2011, and it never happened yet

      Not to say that Apple will not move manufacturing from Samsung, but to say that such reports regularly get proven false.
      DDERSSS
      • It could be another false story

        I'm not so sure that it is this time, though.
        Michael Alan Goff
  • Apple should bring this in house

    I think it would be hilarious to see apple maps v2.0 but this time, affecting the very core of their products.

    Come on apple, do it. You know you can do this better than anyone else can. Ignore the apple maps haters, you did a great job of doing maps in house because you thought you could do better than Google. Please apple? Please start making your own chips?
    toddbottom3
    • Oh Toddy!

      The Apple maps thing is very old now - I guess you haven't looked at them lately; in 2 years they'll be as good as Google and better in 3 years. Also a smart guy like yourself should have known that Apple has been involved in the chip designs for quite a while now. Please provide a link to any issues with Apple-designed A3 chips or higher - you know, like the huge security flaw in some current Samsung processors . . .

      Please do a little research before posting your incorrect, twisted logic.
      Gr8Music
      • Do you not understand the difference between "design" and "make"?

        Apple has yet to make a single chip. I want them to start. I could use the laugh.
        toddbottom3
        • Life

          You seriously need to get a life!!!
          murving
          • The word you're looking for isn't "life", it's "living"

            As in...it appears to me that being here and making comments such as these isn't Toddy's "life", it's how he (or she) makes his (or her) "living"
            UGottaBKidding
          • Then give him yours

            Or are you so holier-than-thou that, with you, it's "do as I say not as I do"?
            HypnoToad72
        • Haha

          I love how the haters are flagging your comment. Too funny.
          dunamis100
        • So...

          So, you think a photocopier making copies of a book is more impressive than the author that wrote the book?
          doh123
        • So what you're saying is...

          That Apple IS capable of designing chips, but they would automatically fail miserably if they started producing them? Interesting logic (or lack thereof).
          Smalahove
      • kernel

        The flaw isn't in the processor but in the kernel driver ie software
        tankad@...
      • LOL

        Apple does software about as good as a fork chops wood. They will always be an inferior software company.
        Rob.sharp
        • I don't use Apple products, but...

          Apple software historically has been quite good, and generally was considered safer to use until they switched to x86/x64 processors and code base. This switch has led to more flaws and exploits being exposed, abused, and published.

          Inferior? Provide links to prove it please.

          Would I use Apple products for my day to day operations? No, it would be a huge undertaking to move off of Windows and Linux for me and not one that I want to go through currently.

          Do I suggest Apple products to my customers? Yes when it fits the bill better than Windows or Linux; it's all about using the best product to perform a given set of functions.
          l_creech
          • Ask any Mac user about unexplained "beach ball o' death" events

            :)

            Or how some who use Boot Camp had to go to nVidia's web site to download drivers that were several generations newer than what Apple included, presumably because Apple was too LAZY to support its own equipment as told by the marketing folk...
            HypnoToad72
          • And why they leeched off of open source

            instead of making OS X on their own.

            Even buying BeOS back in 1999 or whenever would have been a more respectable move...
            HypnoToad72
      • Apple shifting A6X processor production from Samsung to TSMC: report

        @Gr8Music
        even amd wavered in manufacturing chips inspite of more than 30 years design and manufactruing experience, why do you think apple has the wherewithal to do chip manufacturing. sun micro went under despite the supposedly superior sparc technology ...
        kc63092@...
      • Nope

        Apple maps will eventually get good enough. They will never get as good as Google's. It's not just Google's five year head start, but the fact that accurate maps are crucial as a tie-in to Google's local ads as well as being part of their search engine, and an important Android feature. Apple needs the smartphone feature bullet to compete with Android and now Microsoft (Windows gets mapping via Nokia's Navteq division, one of the two GPS mapping companies).

        Maps will never be important enough for Apple to get better than Google. You can tell this based on the fact that Apple didn't go the Google route and build their own maps, they bought them, some from TeleAtlas (the other original GPS map company, owned by TomTom), some from crowdsourced maps from companies like Waze (who's CEO acknowledged Google as the best map set these days).
        Hazydave
        • Maps

          >Maps will never be important enough for Apple to get better than Google. You can tell >this based on the fact that Apple didn't go the Google route and build their own >maps, they bought them

          No they did that because they desperately wanted some new glossy features for iOS5. They had a vision of sexier maps. They did not have the time to make their own. So they stupidly cobbled together that disaster of a map offering. Should not have released it till it was good and ready. Steve Jobs would NEVER have done that. NEVER.
          nowend