SAN JOSE, Calif. - Is Apple Inc. switching foundry partners?
Apple is mulling a plan to outsource the production of its A4 processor and other ARM-based chips to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC), according to Digitimes. That article can beread here.
At present, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is Apple's foundry partner. There are also reportsthat Apple is sourcing $7.8 billion in parts from Samsung.
But on the other hand, Apple and Samsung are rivals in handsets, tablet PCs and computers. Some think Apple should build its own fab.
Well if Apple tries 3D chips too early, they will have terrible supply issue. Apple should wait until infrastructure is ready for mass volume manufacturing. If you're a niche players, you can try any exotic technologies out there but not Apple.
Agree. It's all about economics and market timing. If 28nm high K/Metal Gate technology came earlier with proven manufacturability and capacity to back it up, Qualcomm will love to build their cell phone chips with it. Unfornatuely it's not there yet.
With the advent of 3D chips and integrating most the system functionlaity into one or two chips, Apple may be looking for introdcuing novel techniques. When they do this, they may not like to divulge much information to Samsung. TSMC may be better alternate.
Youíre reading and making more of this than it is. It's a decision on second source. That means it's about how to protect the business at the lowest expense possible.
This is not a technology issue itís a business issue
Maybe Apple is taking a page from Qualcomm. Initially, Qualcomm is doing 28-nm cell-phone chips, reportedly without high-k due to the risks involved. At first, Qualcomm is going with TSMC, which offers a 28-nm process without high-k. IBM's ''fab club'' (Samsung, Globalfoundries) will offer 28-/32-nm processes--with only high-k. Perhaps Apple doesn't want to take the risk with high-k at 28-nm. It's a wild theory. Thoughts?
Himanshu, For special treatment, Apple's volume speaks for itself. IT's not SWITCH to TSMC, but ADD additional capacity. It's publicly known that Samsung ran out of capacity on 45nm for A4. Thus Apple can't rely on single source but other foundries can't provide the capacity Apple needs either except TSMC. That's the reality of the industry today.
Apple is known to have received special treatment form suppliers both in terms of prices and supplies. It will be interesting to know, if Apple switch to TSMC, how and whether will TSMC differentiate among similar customers.
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