updated 11:30 am EDT, Thu September 15, 2011
Apple scrambling to be ready for iPhone 5 launch?
Apple and Broadcom are likely behind "rush orders" received by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, Bloomberg suggests. TSMC recently announced that third-quarter sales would beat forecasts because of the orders, officially attributed to an unnamed client. Because other major TSMC clients have had subpar results, the company in question is thought to be Broadcom; in turn, a Bloomberg analyst describes Broadcom as the "largest link" between Apple and TSMC.
If Apple is behind the orders, it may imply a dash to secure as many parts as possible for the production of a new iPhone. Apple is widely expected to ship updated hardware in the first half of October. The company's main manufacturing partner, Foxconn, is said to be well into production of a new model, presumably called the iPhone 5.
Bloomberg notes that in terms of a supply chain, rush orders are last-minute affairs meant to cope with low inventories. The publication's analyst, Richard Davenport, argues that given the current state of the semiconductor industry, any client needing a company as big as TSMC to cope with inventory problems must be large in its own right. A chip analyst with William Blair & Co. suggests however that another potential candidate is Qualcomm, which might likewise be trying to fulfill iPhone demands if it has secured a new deal with Apple.
Kaufman analyst Michael Burton contends that Broadcom is actually an unlikely pick, since it would've anticipated high demand from Apple. He proposes that the orders may have come from MediaTek and NVIDIA. Bloomberg remarks, though, that Broadcom and TSMC have been doing better than many in the chip industry, and that Apple accounts for about 11 percent of Broadcom sales.