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TSMC Reportedly Lands Three-Year Deal for Apple's A8 Chip and Beyond

tsmcDigitimes reports that Taiwan Semiconductor Company (TSMC) has officially landed a three-year deal with Apple to produce the A-series chips that will be used to power upcoming iOS devices. The deal is said to begin with the A8 chip, with future A9/A9X chips also mentioned as being included.
TSMC will start to manufacture Apple's A8 chips in small volume in July 2013, and substantially ramp up its 20nm production capacity after December, the sources revealed. The foundry will complete installing a batch of new 20nm fab equipment, which is capable of processing 50,000 wafers, in the first quarter of 2014, the sources said.

A portion of the upcoming production capacity, estimated at 20,000 wafers, can later be upgraded to process wafers used to build 16nm chips, the sources continued. TSMC is scheduled to volume produce the Apple A9 and A9X processors starting the end of third-quarter 2014, the sources said.
The report claims that the A8 will appear in a new iPhone "slated for release in early 2014", although it is unclear how that timeframe would fit into Apple's usual product lifecycle. Apple has yet to introduce a device running an A7 chip, and with that chip expected to debut in an iPhone later this year, an early 2014 launch for an A8-based iPhone would seem to be too early.

Apple has so far exclusively used Samsung as the supplier for its A-series chips, but with the two companies emerging as bitter rivals in the mobile device market, Apple has reportedly been trying to reduce its reliance on Samsung for component supplies. TSMC has been the most commonly rumored candidate to take over supplying Apple's A-series chips, but it has taken some time for the two companies to reach an agreement and work out any technical hurdles to the shift.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

Top Rated Comments

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14 months ago
Jeezus, I can only imagine what the A7, A8 & A9 chips will bring to the table.
Rating: 6 Votes
14 months ago

In next three years, they can switch to Intel too?


I'd be cool with that as long as they don't integrate the hd3000 gpu :D

Rating: 5 Votes
14 months ago
Maybe Apple knows that 5S won't be enought for whole year (same desing,slightly better camera) and release brand new mighty iphone 6 in two sizes 4" and 5" in spring 2014 before galaxy S5.
Uff, i guess i'm an analyst now.:rolleyes:
Rating: 5 Votes
14 months ago
Personally I've stopped reading any article that cites Digitimes as the source of the rumour, because they are never correct. They just throw everything up against the wall to see what sticks.
Rating: 4 Votes
14 months ago
5S releases in the fall, and the iphone 6 comes out in Spring to royally infuriate everyone who bought a 5S only 7 months earlier.

:o
Rating: 3 Votes
14 months ago
Wasn't the issue with them that they were not able to produce the quantities apple needed?
Rating: 3 Votes
14 months ago

Jeezus, I can only imagine what the A7, A8 & A9 chips will bring to the table.


You're right. I guess then, I won't be getting an iPhone until I can get one with the A9 chip. Yessuree, that'll be the one. I know I waited for the A4 and then A5, and now was waiting until the A6, but I decided to stop all this "not buying until the next chip comes out" nonsense. I'll set the bar really high and not worry about it for a few years.

But someday I will get my first iPhone. Really. Apple just has to meet my (ever moving) expectations.
:D
Rating: 3 Votes
14 months ago

Samsung is just opportunist. They use qualcomm SoCs in NA for their devices.


They use the best CPUs available. There is nothing wrong with that (at least for consumers).
Rating: 3 Votes
14 months ago

The report claims that the A8 will appear in a new iPhone "slated for release in early 2014", although it is unclear how that timeframe would fit into Apple's usual product lifecycle. Apple has yet to introduce a device running an A7 chip, and with that chip expected to debut in an iPhone later this year, an early 2014 launch for an A8-based iPhone would seem to be too early.

This is from the perspective of the foundry. With a July chip "release" end-user hardware can start showing up in September due to supply chain lag.

To me, this means late 2014 to mid 2015 for the first "laptops" with A9 chips powering them. They will like like Airs.

Rocketman
Rating: 2 Votes
14 months ago

Given how Apple likes to test new processes in a smaller volume of shipping product before doing a new chip design on it, like the 32nm A5 in the iPar2,4 and 3rd gen Apple TV before the A6 was announced, perhaps the "A8" in an early 2014 iPhone is just a 20nm TSMC test A7 shrink that will quietly ship in a variant of iPhone 5S and they are just mislabelling it? A true new A8/A8X will then come later in 2014 as usual which is probably what they are referring to as the "A9/A9X" in their article.


All these numbers are created by Apple.

Apple can rename their current chip to A31 and put it into the next phone if they want to.
Rating: 2 Votes

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