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Did Apple pick Samsung to make the next iPhone chip?

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:iPhone? 14nm? A8? 16nm process? A9?

After a one-year affair with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Apple has allegedly decided to return to Samsung to fabricate its next chip, which will likely be called the A9, according to a report in Re/code that cited unnamed sources familiar with the situation.

The South Korean company used to be Apple's partner in manufacturing its iPhone chips, but the relationship between the two fell apart when the latter sued Samsung for allegedly copying its phones and tablets in 2011. This prompted the iPhone maker to look elsewhere and eventually pick TSMC to become its A8 chip manufacturer.

But Samsung's 14nm manufacturing process succeeded in luring Apple back to its lair. It is not uncommon to industry players that Apple prefers to use the latest and most advanced technologies available, and Samsung's facilities are better equipped to offer these things than the factories of TSMC, which is currently having a hard time with its 16nm process.

The U.S. tech giant designs its own mobile chips, but it needs contract manufacturers to make them. With the A8 chips used in iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple split the job between TSMC and Samsung, with the former receiving the bulk of the orders.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

(Source: Apple)

Thanks to Samsung's advanced fabrication technology, it has won back its biggest client. It seems that the company's stunning $21.4 billion investment last year in its semiconductor and display businesses paid off finally. For this year, Samsung is expected to release more money for its facilities.

The news first appeared in South Korea's Maeil Business Newspaper, but Samsung and Apple have yet to confirm the said report.

According to a Computer World article, this piece of information could potentially end the rumours that Apple will tap Intel to manufacture its mobile chips. Intel also uses the 14nm process.

In addition, the Re/code report states that Samsung's technological advantage could also be unfavourable to Qualcomm, also one of the biggest chipmakers in high-end phones. With its superior manufacturing capability, Samsung might swap Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 with its own Exynos processors for its future smartphones.

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