updated 03:25 pm EST, Fri January 28, 2011
Samsung may give Apple 4X chips in 2011
Apple could be asking for four times as many processors from Samsung this year, reported sources claimed Friday. The iPhone designer may have stepped up its orders from 5,000 chip sheets last year to 20,000 in 2011. Multiple executives reportedly told the Korea Times that demand would be so high that Apple would be taking up half of Samsung's total 45 nanometer processor production for the year, outpacing even what Samsung needs for its smartphones and tablets.
A new $3.6 billion plant in Austin may be targeted specifically at supplying Apple, although not for distance. Virtually all Apple devices and their parts are made in China.
Samsung representative Kim Se-hun declined to comment, but mentioned that the company didn't comment on any issue that involved any of its clients.
The expansion would suggest that Apple has aggressive expectations for its mobile devices. Most of Apple's known growth this year will come from both the second-generation iPad as well as new iPhones, including the CDMA model about to go on sale. A fourfold expansion would still be unusual and could point to a completely new product, but none has surfaced so far.
An increase in production could help patch up a perceived sore point between the two electronics giants. Apple's decision to design processors in-house, starting with the A4, relegated Samsung to a manufacturer and prevented it from charging extra for fully designed chips. A further move, where Apple bought Intrinsity, likely exacerbated the problem as Apple effectively stole the company responsible for optimizing the Hummingbird processor in the Galaxy S, Galaxy Tab and Nexus S.