According to reports, officials over at Samsung confirm they have not received an order for Apple’s upcoming A7 chip speculated to be used in the iPhone 6, assumed for 2014. Not surprising as the tech giants’ exclusivity deal on the A chips is set to expire this coming June.
So where does that leave Apple and its next gen chips? Taiwan Semiconductor Company, or TSMC for short, is expected to chip in.
Rumor has it that the TSMC is already a couple months ahead of production equipment as they proceed with their 20nm process. Rumors yet abound that Apple and TSMC have already completed the first design on a 20nm A7 chip for next year. If that holds true, then we can probably expect the new A7 chip in the iPhone 6 or sooner with a later model iPhone 5S during that production run.
These latest reports follow initial confirmation late year regarding Apple’s moves away from Samsung for its A Series of chipsets due to longstanding litigation between both parties while at the same time mutually benefitting from each others’ respective success in the smartphone sector, by involving different divisions of the Korean conglomerate that are not directly related to the Samsung Mobile division, such as the semiconductor division. The division completed a new chip foundry in Austin ostensibly for Apple’s devices, as well as taking advantage of the flash memory division in past years.
With Samsung filing more briefs in its ongoing legal wrangling with Apple that have disclosed that the iPhone manufacturer stands to earn more than the $1 billion judgement initially handed down in last year’s trial, more news of Apple moving away from Samsung for its chip needs puts the company in a tougher spot than many expected, since Apple was its largest external customer in terms of volume for chipsets.
This also puts the viability of the SEMCO foundry at risk as it was built specifically to meet the ever increasing demand for iOS products, and with Apple showing more signs of cutting business ties with Samsung, it forces the company to quickly reevaluate what it should do with the relatively new facility. Samsung risks having to spend money to retool the foundry for its own products, which would hurt in the short-term in terms of costs, but ultimately benefit the company in the long run if the success of the Galaxy series continues its current pace with the forthcoming S IV, despite its tepid critical reception so far.