updated 11:53 am EST, Mon December 10, 2012
Apple accelerating split from Samsung?
Apple may be moving to TSMC for processor production "earlier than expected," according to analysts with Credit Suisse. Quoting checks with equipment suppliers and other firms in Japan, China, and Taiwan, the analysts suggest that Apple could make the jump to a 28nm TSMC process as soon as the second quarter of 2013. Credit Suisse says that until now, it had only expected Apple to start placing orders with TSMC in late 2013 or early 2014.
While Apple is responsible for the design of the A-series processors in iPhones, iPods, iPads, the actual production is handled exclusively by Samsung at a plant in Austin, Texas. The two companies have become increasingly confrontational with each other over patents however, and so Apple is believed to be trying to diversify its suppliers. At first, at least, TSMC would likely only be an adjunct to Samsung, rather than a replacement.
In recent times reports have suggested that TSMC is resistant to tying its fate to any one company, despite bids for exclusivity by Apple and Qualcomm. TSMC has also said, though, that it might be willing to dedicate one or two factories to a single client.