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.

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, iPad, iPhone, Processors

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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