LONDON – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. is set to supply Apple with processors using its FinFET process at the 16- and 10-nm nodes, after beginning with 20-nm planar CMOS, according to a report from Digitimes that referenced unnamed sources.
TSMC's IC design service partner Global UniChip, which works with customers to help prepare chips for the foundry, is also involved in the three-year deal, Digitimes report said.
A deal whereby TSMC replaces or supplements Samsung, the incumbent supplier of Apple processors, has rumored for several years, but it appears that TSMC's supplier status is about to begin. TSMC is expected to begin supplying a processor called A8 in July 2013 made on 20-nm CMOS and ramp up production "after December," Digitimes said. TSMC is then scheduled to produce A9 and A9x processors in the second half of 2014.
The timing indicates that A9/A9x processors are destined to be produced in TSMC's 16-nm FinFET process.
Both TSMC and Global Unichip said they do not comment on customer orders, Digitimes said.
Tons of rumors have been flying around here for more than a year and given Apple's secretive nature I suspect this story will be more speculation than anything for some time to come.
That said, it makes sense Apple would want to ween itself from dependance on its archrival Samsung to make its chips, the secret ingredient of its products. TSMC and Intel are the logical choices.
If I were Samsung I'd do an Apple and just chop them. The Cupertino boys would get a taste of their own medicine. When you see how many suppliers they stiffed over the years it would be such a hoot to watch
I'm not too sure about relationship with Intel. After all, Intel makes processor and very eager to get a chuck of mobile device market. In Apple point of view, Intel is not an ideal partner. With this in mind, I'm sure the "independent" foundry would have an advantage to strike a partnership deal with any MCU design house.