Apple Shifting to TSMC for A-Series Chip Production Earlier Than Expected?

While Apple appears to have been making efforts to diversify its supply chain and move away from courtroom and marketplace foe Samsung, production of one of the company's highest-profile components for its iOS devices remains entrenched at Samsung with the A-series chips.

There have, however, been rumors that Apple is looking into an alternative supplier for its custom ARM-based chips, with several recent claims suggesting that Apple could switch to TSMC's more efficient 20-nanometer process by late 2013 for introduction in the 2014 generation of iOS devices.

Taipei Times now reports that Apple's rumored timeline for shifting chip production to TSMC may be accelerating, with Credit Suisse analysts claiming that Apple appears set to make the jump as soon as the second quarter of 2013 using TSMC's 28-nanometer process.
The projected timeframe would come “earlier than expected,” Manish Nigam, head of the brokerage's non-Japan Asia technology research division, said in note to clients on Friday, citing their recent checks with several equipment suppliers and other companies in Japan, Taiwan and China.

Previously, Credit Suisse said it expected Apple would seek a second source for its chips other than Samsung Electronics Co by either late next year or early 2014.
Earlier this year it was reported that both Apple and Qualcomm had placed bids to try to secure exclusive access to TSMC's chip production capacity, but the foundry opted not to tie its future so closely to any one company, although it has indicated that it is open to dedicating a factory or two to a single customer.

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Posted: 24 months ago

Bye-Bye, Samsung :D


This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google :D" posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?
Rating: 19 Votes
Posted: 24 months ago

This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google :D" posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?


Worked out great for me—although some will pretend Google Maps were error free. (And some even believe it: confirmation bias lives!)

Of course, how things work out in reality and how the media spin it are two different things.*

* I’m not counting the way media spins Maps in Australia because a) I don’t live there and b) you can’t get any media in the wilderness where Maps will dump you.

P.S. One of the good things about ARM is that many companies can manufacture the platform. Samsung is in no way the only successful ARM maker, and Samsung did not design Apple’s chips—Apple did. Nobody will know the difference. (Note that Samsung devices with higher CPU specs “on paper” run slower and burn more power in real-world tests. Computing efficiency does not come from a marketing bullet point alone, nor a chip alone. People are of course free to time travel, comparing Apple 2012 chips with Samsung chips that don’t yet exist in the market; they must be assuming, then, that the amazing things Apple’s chip designers did this last time around are the end of Apple’s chip innovation. Every company has future plans except Apple, some will assume!)
Rating: 15 Votes
Posted: 24 months ago
Bye-Bye, Samsung :D
Rating: 13 Votes
Posted: 24 months ago
^
A newer processor is faster than an older one?

Rating: 13 Votes
Posted: 24 months ago
Good to see Apple trying to move away from Samsung components. Reduces leverage/control over Apple products. Of course Samsung is such an honorable company and would NEVER claim "part shortage" to hurt Apple..:rolleyes:
Rating: 12 Votes
Posted: 24 months ago

Samsungs new exynos 5250 absolutely rapes the a6 and a6x. Apple should have let Samsung design the a6 and stick with them for fabbing as well. Its also a much smaller die size which improves power draw.

[url=http://img690.imageshack.us/img690/2080/1355155044680.th.png]Image (http://imageshack.us/a/img690/2080/1355155044680.png)[/URL]

2888 vs 1767 on the a5x and 1569 for the a5. And this is only the dual core exynos. The quad core version is expected to be released soon.


It isn't just about highest performance. Efficiency and Performance per Watt are king in mobile devices.

Besides, how is it a surprise an ARM Cortex-A15 clocked at 1.70 Ghz beats the Apple A6/A6X clocked 300-400 Mhz lower based on the same superset.

Even the A6 beats the Exynos 5250 when it comes to graphics performance. AnandTech easily calls Apple's chips for the most well-rounded System-on-a-Chip, offering the better performance per watt.
Rating: 12 Votes
Posted: 24 months ago

This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google :D" posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?

That's services. Apple has never done services well at all. Apple has in fact shifted hardware and chips before without a hitch. It'll probably be just fine.
Rating: 10 Votes
Posted: 24 months ago

Samsungs new exynos 5250 absolutely rapes the a6 and a6x. Apple should have let Samsung design the a6 and stick with them for fabbing as well. Its also a much smaller die size which improves power draw.

[url=http://img690.imageshack.us/img690/2080/1355155044680.th.png]Image (http://imageshack.us/a/img690/2080/1355155044680.png)[/URL]

2888 vs 1767 on the a5x and 1569 for the a5. And this is only the dual core exynos. The quad core version is expected to be released soon.


I doubt the Cortex A15 was ready in time to be introduced in the iPhone 5, at least not in the kind of volume Apple sells iPhones.

The Nexus 10 was released months later at a fraction of the volume of iPhones and iPads. I think Apple did the right choice by not going with a Cortex A9-based design again, which was probably the only option they had if they followed vanilla ARM designs.

There's also no point in "raping" a synthetic benchmark if you don't take into account the benefits it has in the OS. iOS is way more GPU-dependent than Android, that's why iOS devices always have beefier GPUs than Android devices, so it's not fair to compare CPU performance alone.

There's also the software that factors in. Otherwise how would you explain this? :



In other words, there's no proof that putting an Exynos 5250 and the Nexus 10's GPU (Mali-T604) at the kind of clock speed iPhones usually run at would improve anything. It would probably make it worse overall.
Rating: 8 Votes
Posted: 24 months ago

This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google :D" posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?


Quote of the day.
Rating: 7 Votes
Posted: 24 months ago

The exynos 5250 is only clocked 20% higher than the a6x yet performs 70% better. That also means that it does much better on instructions per clock. The a6 architecture is somewhere between a9 and a15 much like Qualcomm krait is.


Krait is around 3.2 DMIPS. A15 is 3.5. I assume Swift is near what Krait is. The true metric for a mobile device is performance per watt, where Krait and Swift do just fine.

Both are vastly inferior to the a15 core. The exynos 5250 also has excellent power management. The a6x needs a gigantic battery in the iPad. The nexus 10 has a smaller battery yet gets about the same battery even when pushing more pixels.


Ehhh, yes they have a lower IPC, but that doesn't really tell the story. If qualcomm and apple had thought a vanilla core would have been better than what they could design, they would have gone with it. For instance, I can tell you that Swift and Krait inherently handle pipeline flushes better by virtue of having 11 and 10 stages respectively versus 15 on the A15. I'm sure there are plenty of more optimizations and deviations from standard library cells to squeeze every last performance per watt out of it.

The Nexus 10 drives marginally more pixels. The A6X has a much higher capability GPU, which is what truly drives its battery size.
Rating: 5 Votes

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