'TSMC' Articles

TSMC Breaks Earnings Records Thanks to Increasing Demand for iPhone 7

Thanks to a boost from supplying parts for the increasing demand of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has raised its forecast for 2016. Specifically, the manufacturer expects a revenue growth of between 11 and 12 percent, whereas it was previously holding out only for an increase of between 5 and 10 percent for the year (via Reuters). Third quarter net profit jumped 28 percent from previous quarters to $3.1 billion, which came in above analyst predictions of an approximately $2.9 billion forecast for the July-September quarter. It also set a new quarterly record for the company in the net profit category, which previously sat at $2.5 billion. Overall revenue for the quarter broke another record for the company, with revenue amounting to $8.1 billion in total, a 23 percent increase from the second quarter of 2016. In addition, the company recently said that revenue for the first nine months of 2016 jumped 7.1 percent to $21.6 billion, increasing 39 percent in September alone thanks to the launch of the iPhone 7. According to industry insiders and confirmed by teardowns of the handset, TSMC mainly supplies the iPhone 7 with its A10 chip. TSMC's good fortunes have also been inversely related to Samsung's ongoing Galaxy Note 7 debacle, but executives at the Taiwan-based manufacturing company noted that it's "too early to tell how business will play out." "Samsung is a very strong company," TSMC acting spokeswoman Elizabeth Sun, told reporters at a briefing after the company met analysts. "I think the issue today is that

Intel and Apple Already in Talks Over ARM-Based Chips for Future iOS Devices

Intel's new licensing deal allowing it to manufacture ARM-based chips for smartphones could win over Apple as a customer in as little as two years, placing pressure on current A-series chip manufacturer TSMC, according to Nikkei Asian Review. The report cited analysts that believe Intel could supply Apple with at least a portion of tentatively named A12 chips for iPhones in 2018, following reports that TSMC will be the sole supplier of A10 and A11 chips for iPhones in 2016 and 2017 respectively."TSMC could face tough competition as soon as 2018 or 2019 as Intel is likely to gain orders from Apple by then," Samuel Wang, a veteran semiconductor analyst at research company Gartner, told the Nikkei Asian Review. "Intel has begun to engage with Apple and it aims to grab one or two top-tier customers from TSMC."The switch to Intel may not have significant implications for iPhone users, but it provides Apple with an opportunity to secure the best manufacturing deal and technologies available. Intel's foundries will manufacture ARM-based smartphone chips based on a 10-nanometer process, which TSMC is also moving towards. The move could also shift at least a portion of A-series chip production to the United States, which could help create new jobs on the company's home turf."Intel is definitely the most formidable challenger for TSMC,” a senior Taiwanese chip industry executive said. "There is no rivalry between Apple and Intel so it's really likely that Apple could shift some orders there. The move is also in line with Washington's policy to encourage U.S. companies to make

How TSMC Won Back Exclusivity With Apple for the A10 Chip in iPhone 7

Last year, MacRumors covered the potential reasoning for Apple's rumored return to having a single partner for Apple A-series chip production with the A10 after having both Samsung and TSMC produce versions of the Apple A9. Since then, TSMC confirmed in conference call comments that its chip packaging changes have led to improvements of 20 percent in both speed and packaging thickness and 10 percent in thermal performance. This has a number of implications for future device performance and future foundry partner selection for Apple. First, it is helpful to understand why InFO-WLP (Integrated Fan-Out Wafer-Level Packing) is such an important development for Apple's mobile processors. Typically, chips as large as CPUs or mobile SoCs have been attached via "flip-chip" methods which attach an array of inputs and outputs to a package substrate via solder bumps, ultimately enabling it to be attached to a printed circuit board (PCB) for device integration. From the start, this is a compromise, as it would be preferable to attach a silicon die directly to the PCB to minimize height and reduce the lengths of interconnects between components. A number of technical limits in areas such as interconnect pitch, board produceability, and damage due to board warpage typically prevent this direct attachment. The above problem had previously been circumvented for smaller I/O count components with a similar concept called Fan-In Wafer-Level Packing, where smaller dies are allowed to route their inputs and outputs in an area roughly the same area as the die. TSMC is just one of

TSMC to Be Sole Supplier of A11 Chip for Apple's 'iPhone 8'

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has reportedly secured exclusive orders for the A11 processor expected to power Apple's 2017 "iPhone 8". According to the Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN), the Taiwan-based foundry will be the sole supplier of Apple's next-generation A11 chip, which will be built on a 10nm FinFET process. TSMC co-CEO Mark Liu announced at the company's recent investors meeting that its first 10nm customer product has been produced with "satisfactory yield" and that three products had already been "taped out". Taping out refers to the initial design of the chip having been completed for creation of the masks that will be used to print the actual chips, although further tweaks are likely as test production is carried out. TSMC is said to have begun taping out the design for Apple's A11 processor in May. Xilinx, MediaTek, and HiSilicon are said to be the other customers that will use the company's 10nm process technology. TSMC is already the exclusive manufacturer of Apple's A10 chip which will power the iPhone 7 range expected to launch this September. TSMC is thought to have reached the deal with Apple thanks to its advanced device packaging techniques, capable of higher-width memory buses and lower-power operation, which for consumers means better performance and efficiency. TSMC's production for Apple's A11 chips is expected to start generating revenues for the company in the first quarter of 2017, with revenues to "ramp steeply" throughout the rest of the year, according to Liu. Apple is said to have a radical

Apple's Suppliers Projecting Weak Demand for iPhone 7 Due to 'Lack of Innovation'

Apple recently reported its first year-over-year decline in iPhone sales, with CEO Tim Cook claiming one of the reasons is that the upgrade cycle for the larger iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s series has stretched out longer than it anticipated. Despite the launch of the lower-priced iPhone SE, that decline is expected to continue into the second half of this year. In reporting its first negative-growth quarter since 2003, Apple forecasted another revenue drop next quarter. The sales decline is placing downward pressure on Apple's overseas suppliers, who have ridden the iPhone's coattails to success over the past half-dozen years. Not only does LCD supplier Japan Display reportedly expect to post a nearly $300 million loss for the fiscal year ended March, but Nikkei reports that Apple's slowdown is also sending Taiwanese suppliers into a downward spiral."Suppliers are saying that they are getting fewer orders for the second half of this year compared with the year-ago period," a source said. "The traditional peak season this year will not be able to compare to the past few years."The report claims Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), one of Apple's primary chip suppliers, may ship up to 30% fewer chips in the second half of 2016 compared to the year-ago period. The decline is attributed to the iPhone 7's expected lack of innovative features, saturation of the smartphone market, increased competition, and a global economic slowdown.Another source said that for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the sole supplier for the latest A10 chips used in iPhone

TSMC Reportedly Completing Designs for 10-nm A11 Chip With Early 2017 Availability

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has begun to "tape out" the design for Apple's A11 processor built on a 10nm FinFET process, according to industry sources (via DigiTimes). Taping out refers to the initial design of the chip having been completed for creation of the masks that will be used to print the actual chips, although further tweaks are likely as test production is carried out. Following the final result of the design cycle for the A11, TSMC is expected to achieve certification on its 10nm manufacturing process in the fourth quarter of 2016, and deliver product samples to Apple for validation in the first quarter of 2017. TSMC is expected to obtain about two-thirds of its overall A11 chip orders directly from Cupertino. The same sources indicate that TSMC could begin small-volume production for Apple's A11 chips as early as the second quarter of 2017, which would generate revenue for the company in the following quarter. Apple currently operates a two-year upgrade cycle for its smartphones. All things remaining the same, that would mean the A11 would be headed for the "iPhone 7s", the likely successor to the next-generation iPhone 7 which is slated to launch this fall. However, last month Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz speculated Apple will skip its traditional "S" upgrade cycle next year altogether. Citing industry sources, Moskowitz said the Cupertino company won't debut a spec-bumped, internally upgraded "iPhone 7s" in 2017, but a completely overhauled "iPhone 8" with "major design changes" and new, next-generation features like

TSMC Plans to Double 16nm Chip Production in Preparation for iPhone 7

According to a new report from Economic Daily News (via DigiTimes), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has plans to double the output capacity of its 16nm chip production from 40,000 12-inch wafers in February to 80,000 in March. The news corroborates previous reports that suggested TSMC was ready to expand its 16nm FinFET production capacity in the second quarter of 2016, solely for the iPhone 7. In a recent investors meeting, TSMC's co-CEO CC Wei said that the company's percentage share of the 14/16nm market is expected to increase from 40 percent in 2015 to over 70 percent in 2016. Apple isn't specifically referenced in the report today, but among TSMC's other purported 16nm customers -- Xilinx, MediaTek, HiSilicon, Spreadtrum and Nvidia -- it is one of the bigger names. The upcoming ramp-up of 16nm production capacity will buoy TSMC's sales performance starting March, the report quoted market watchers as indicating. The foundry's 16nm FinFET processes consisting of 16FF (16nm FinFET), 16FF+ (16nm FinFET Plus) and 16FFC (16nm FinFET Compact) will generate more than 20% of its total wafer revenues in 2016. Previous rumors around the iPhone 7 production have pointed to Apple picking TSMC to be the sole manufacturer of the smartphone's processor, presumably called the A10. The foundry was said to have won over Apple because of its 10nm manufacturing process, and a likely attempt at avoiding the dual-sourced A9 chip blowback Apple saw in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s

iPhone 7 Chip Manufacturer Counts Cost of Earthquake Damage

The sole company responsible for manufacturing the processor in Apple's upcoming iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus has reduced its shipping estimates after its facilities were damaged in an earthquake (via DigiTimes). Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) suffered the damage to its plants on February 6 when a 6.4-magnitude quake struck the southern part of the country. Initially, TSMC reported that the damage incurred would reduce the amount of chips it could ship by less than 1 percent. However, this morning the company revised that estimate and said shipment numbers could be affected over the 1 percent mark, but stopped short of giving a specific number. Mockup of iPhone 7 case showing flush rear camera and no antenna bands across rear Despite the earthquake, TSMC stated it is confident of hitting target revenues of $5.9-6.0 billion in the first quarter of 2016. Whether the damage will affect production of the iPhone 7 chip, which is expected to begin in June, remains unclear. TSMC reached a deal with Apple only last week to become the sole manufacturer for the iPhone 7's processor, partly thanks to its 10-nanometer manufacturing process. Apple used both Samsung and TSMC to manufacture the chips for the iPhone 6s, perhaps in a bid to lower risks, but the arrangement caused some controversy after benchmarks indicated performance variances between the companies' processors. The processor in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus is likely called the A10. Both devices are expected to debut in September. Leaks of the phones' design suggest that it may have a

iPhone 7 Processor to Be Manufactured Solely by TSMC [Updated]

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has reached a deal with Apple to be the only manufacturer for the iPhone 7's processor, likely called the A10, reports The Electronic Times [Google Translate]. TSMC won over Apple largely because of its 10-nanometer manufacturing process. The chip will reportedly go into full production in June. While TSMC's 10-nanometer process is one reason the company was awarded with a deal over rival Samsung, another likely has to do with the company's more advanced device packaging techniques, which allow for better power performance and efficiency. However, at its conference call last month, TSMC said that it was hoping to ramp up 10nm production in 2017, with a slow start to production coming in the second half of 2016. Mockup of iPhone 7 case showing flush rear camera and no antenna bands across rear Apple used both Samsung and TSMC to manufacture the chips for the iPhone 6s, which caused some controversy as early benchmarks indicated that TSMC's A9 chip outperformed Samsung's in battery life. Apple revealed that, according to its internal testing, the variance in performance was only 2 to 3 percent. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are expected to debut in September, and new details about the devices have been steadily dripping out. Last week, MacRumors shared some details on the phone's design, including that it would have a flush rear camera and a lack of antenna bands on its back. Other rumors indicate that the 7 Plus may feature a dual-lens camera system and that it may be waterproof and not have a headphone jack. Update:

Rumored A10 Production Win for TSMC Could Be Tied to Device Packaging Advances

According to a recent report from Taiwan's Commercial Times, via EE Times and a separate research report from KGI Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo, Taiwan-based TSMC may have won sole production rights on the A10 chip slated for the next-generation iPhone 7. This is in contrast to the split production of the A9 processor between Samsung and TSMC featured in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Apple's decision to revert back to TSMC as a single supplier, as was seen in A8 chip production, could be motivated by advanced device packaging techniques offered by TSMC that may not have equivalents in Samsung's packaging offerings. The Commercial Times report mentions TSMC's integrated fan-out wafer-level packaging (InFO WLP) technology as one of the key inclusions in the production contract. InFO WLP is one of many competing 3D IC technologies that promise higher levels of component integration in a single package with better electrical characteristics. Among those improvements is the possibility for higher-width memory buses that support lower-power operation necessary for mobile devices, which for consumers means better performance and efficiency. 3D IC technologies are just beginning to emerge in the consumer space, with AMD's use of High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) in its Fiji XT line of discrete graphics cards being one of the first implementations. According to a paper abstract from TSMC engineers, InFO WLP also allows for better thermal performance as well as superior performance for radio frequency (RF) components such as cellular modems. We reported last year about Apple

Controlled Testing Supports Apple's Claim of Nearly Equal iPhone 6s Battery Life With TSMC and Samsung Chips

Last week Apple addressed concerns over battery life discrepancies between the TSMC and Samsung A9 chips used in the iPhone 6s and the 6s Plus, suggesting a real world battery life difference of only two to three percent between the chips despite Geekbench battery tests that had pointed towards a bigger gap. Ars Technica has now conducted controlled battery life tests on two iPhone 6s models, one with a TSMC chip and one with a Samsung chip, and its findings line up with Apple's statement. The site used two AT&T models, both with SIM cards removed and screen brightness set at the exact same level. In Wi-Fi browsing, WebGL, and GFXBench tests, there were performance differences mostly in favor of the TSMC iPhone, but the variation between the two phones was slight. There was a more significant performance difference on the Geekbench 3 test, but as has been covered earlier, that test is not reflective of real world usage. Aside from the Geekbench test, which saw a battery life difference of 28 percent between the two devices, the TSMC iPhone and the Samsung iPhone scored within two to three percent of each other. In Ars' opinion, in the real world, there's going to be little difference between a Samsung iPhone and a TSMC iPhone.So there are definitely circumstances under which the TSMC phone will last longer than the Samsung phone, but it's not a universal problem. A Samsung chip that's mostly idling or even one under modest CPU and GPU load, though, is going to behave in just about the same way as a TSMC chip. And the kinds of CPU-intensive work that the Samsung

Apple Claims TSMC vs Samsung A9 Chip Variants Result in Only 2-3% Difference in 'Real World' Battery Life

Over the past several days, a slew of battery tests on the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus have revealed some performance differences between models that have an A9 chip manufactured by TSMC and those with an A9 chip created by Samsung. While various benchmarking and real world usage tests have shown differences of 6 percent to 22 percent, in favor of TSMC chips, Apple says that its own testing has shown battery life variations of only two to three percent. In a statement given to TechCrunch, Apple says that it has done internal testing and gathered customer data to determine the performance difference between the two chips in the iPhones. With the Apple-designed A9 chip in your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus, you are getting the most advanced smartphone chip in the world. Every chip we ship meets Apple's highest standards for providing incredible performance and deliver great battery life, regardless of iPhone 6s capacity, color, or model. Certain manufactured lab tests which run the processors with a continuous heavy workload until the battery depletes are not representative of real-world usage, since they spend an unrealistic amount of time at the highest CPU performance state. It's a misleading way to measure real-world battery life. Our testing and customer data show the actual battery life of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, even taking into account variable component differences, vary within just 2-3% of each other.Apple says that early battery benchmark tests conducted by customers, such as those we shared yesterday, are not reflective of real world usage

Samsung and TSMC iPhone 6s Chips Show Smaller Real-World Battery Impacts Compared to Benchmarks

The news that Apple dual sourced its A9 chips for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus has been a point of discussion over the past few weeks, especially when new battery tests on the phones pointed towards the TSMC chips outperforming those made by Samsung. Following the news, several YouTubers have begun creating videos to compare the dual sourced chips in both battery-straining tests and basic real-world scenarios. In the first video, Austin Evans compared identical models of the iPhone 6s -- one with the Samsung chip and one with the TSMC chip -- and calibrated their screens so they had the exact same brightness. After running the GeekBench 3 battery test until they both ran down to 50 percent battery life, Evans discovered that the TSMC iPhone 6s lasted fifty minutes longer than the Samsung version, "resulting in a nearly 1.5 times difference in battery life." Thermal imaging also showed the Samsung device running hotter than the TSMC version. Evans also ran a lighter battery test, playing the same hour-long YouTube video on each device to see how a more day-to-day scenario would affect each chip. In the end, he saw only a one percentage point difference in battery drain, noting that while heavy-use cases could see the TSMC chips come out on top, highlighting the differences between benchmarks and real-world usage. The next video is from Jonathan Morrison, who compared each chip by running a 30-minute timelapse with all the same settings and brightness running on each device. After the test, the Samsung iPhone 6s was down to 84 percent battery, while the TSMC

TSMC's A9 Chip Outperforming Samsung's in Early iPhone 6s Battery Benchmarks

Following the launch of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus last month, it was discovered that Apple is dual sourcing the A9 chip for the new devices from both TSMC and Samsung, with the chips from the two companies measuring at slightly different sizes due to different processes used in manufacturing the chips. As users began to determine which chips were used in their devices, data began to point toward a 60/40 split in favor of TSMC, although the ratio has shifted toward 50/50 as more data has been obtained. Benchmarks have suggested there is little if any difference in chip performance between the two A9 variants, but some recent battery testing (via Engadget) is hinting at the possibility of significantly better battery life for models with the TSMC-manufactured A9 chip. We should caution that data points remain few at this time and controlling for variables to accurately focus the comparison only on the differences in the A9 is difficult, but these limited tests are generating significant amounts of interest in our discussion forums and elsewhere. Perhaps the most dramatic result comes from a reddit poster who compared Samsung and TSMC versions of the iPhone 6s Plus using the battery life test included in Geekbench 3, finding the TSMC version lasting nearly two hours longer than the model with Samsung A9 chip. Geekbench battery tests on TSMC (left) and Samsung (right) iPhone 6s Plus variants Ran this test a couple times and results were consistent. Always about a 2 hour difference in duration. Both phones were tested using the same backup, same settings. Also tried

TSMC Said to Begin Exclusive Production of A10 Chip for iPhone 7 in March 2016

Less than a week after the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus were announced, the overseas supply chain is reportedly already preparing for production and component certification ahead of the iPhone 7. Taiwan-based China Times reports (via G4Games) that Apple supplier TSMC has secured exclusive orders for the A10 chip based on a 16-nanometer manufacturing process. The report claims TSMC will begin mass production of the A10 chip in March 2016 ahead of the iPhone 7 launching in the fourth quarter. TSMC is also expected to start ordering more parts for the iPhone 7 in the second quarter of 2016. iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are powered by Apple's new A9 chip, which is believed to be manufactured by both TSMC and Samsung, while the iPad Pro features a more powerful A9X processor. The report adds that TSMC will continue producing the A8 chip, which is found inside the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, sixth-generation iPod touch and the new Apple TV launching in late

Samsung and TSMC Begin Production of A9 Chips for 'iPhone 6s'

Apple manufacturing partners Samsung and TSMC have started volume production of A9 chips for the so-called "iPhone 6s," according to DigiTimes. The report claims Apple requested last-minute changes to the chip layout, requiring both chipmakers to rework wafers, but the modifications are not expected to impact the release schedule of the next-generation iPhone. Apple's iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and new iPod touch are powered by the A8 chip TSMC will reportedly begin mass production of A9 chips based on a 16nm process in the fourth quarter of 2015, and is also expected to manufacture fingerprint sensors and audio chips on a contract basis for future iPhones. Conflicting reports have surfaced over the past several months suggesting that Samsung, TSMC or a combination of the two would be responsible for A9 chip production. DigiTimes has a mixed track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming plans, but it does have close connections with the overseas supply chain, and A9 chip production in July is reasonable with less than two months until the next iPhone is expected to launch. Apple will reportedly order a record-breaking 85-90 million "iPhone 6s" units from suppliers by the end of 2015. The much-rumored "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" are expected to be announced in September and could feature the same 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screen sizes, an A9 processor with 2GB of RAM, Force Touch, a faster Qualcomm LTE chip, an improved 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and 7000 Series aluminum. The overall design of the smartphones will likely be nearly identical to the iPhone 6 and

TSMC May Supply 30% of A9 Chip Orders for Next-Generation iPhone

Earlier this month, a report indicated that Samsung would produce the A9 chip for the next-generation iPhone. Now, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, a reliable source on Apple's future plans, says that he expects Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to supply 30% of the chip orders for the next-generation iPhone. This is the latest turn in what has become a back-and-forth affair in determining the companies that will supply A9 chips for next-generation iPhones. We believe key reasons in Apple’s (US) last minute decision to recruit TSMC are: (1) unstable yield rate at GlobalFoundries (US); (2) TSMC’s 16nm FinFET Turbo has exceeded Apple’s expectations in yield rate and performance; and (3) concerns of insufficient 14nm supply from Samsung LSI (KR) due to better-than-expected market feedback of Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, which uses the in-house 14nm FinFET-manufactured application processor Exynos 7420.Kuo notes that GlobalFoundries, Samsung's manufacturing partner, has thus far had an unstable yield rate of 30% for the A9 chip, which is below the 50% yield rate that is required for mass production. Bringing TSMC into the chip-supplying fold calms some of the uncertainties of Apple. Additionally, TSMC's 16-nanometer process has exceeded Apple's expectations. Alternatively, the Cupertino company is worried that the success of the the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, which use Samsung's advanced 14-nanometer process for their chips, will mean that Apple won't be able to book enough chips from Samsung for the next-generation iPhone. Thus, Apple is turning

Samsung Confirmed to Produce A9 Chips for Apple's Next-Generation Devices

Samsung will provide Apple with A9 chips for its next-generation iPhone and other devices, reports Bloomberg, confirming a previous report in early February. Over the past couple of months there had been confusion and conflicting reports as to whether Samsung, Apple's longtime supplier and rival, or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) would produce the chips. Samsung will start making Apple A9 processor chips at its Giheung plant in South Korea, the people said, asking not to be identified because the contract hasn’t been discussed publicly. Additional orders will go to Samsung’s partner Globalfoundries Inc., according to another person familiar with the arrangement.In 2013, Apple signed a chip production deal with TSMC in hopes of diversifying its supply chain resources and reducing its reliance on Samsung amid the two companies' ongoing legal disputes. It appears that Samsung's investment in manufacturing technologies won Apple over, with TSMC Chairman Morris Chang recently telling investors that the company would lose ground to Samsung in producing the most advanced chip technology possible in 2015, though he also noted the company would regain that advantage in 2016. Samsung is reportedly producing the chips with its advanced 14-nanometer process, which has outpaced TSMC's capabilities and results in smaller chips that consume less energy and provide more processing power. The Korean company is also said to be providing memory chips for Apple's next-generation devices. Thus far, little is known about what the next-generation iPhones or iPads

Samsung to Produce A9 Chips for Apple's Next-Generation Devices

Longtime Apple rival and supplier Samsung will be responsible for manufacturing the A9 chips for Apple's next-generation iPhone and iPad, Re/code confirmed today. Over the past several months, there's been a lot of confusion over whether Samsung or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) would produce Apple's A9 chips, but recent rumors suggest that Samsung's technological advances have put it ahead of TSMC. Apple signed a chip production deal with TSMC back in 2013 with the hopes of diversifying its supply chain sources and reducing its reliance on Samsung because of ongoing legal battles, but it has been unable to break away from Samsung for its A-series processors. Both TSMC and Samsung produced 20-nanometer A8 and A8X processors for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 2014, though TSMC handled the bulk of the orders. 20-nanometer A8 chip in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, via Chipworks At a time when Samsung's mobile division is seeing profit loss due to flagging sales, the company's semiconductor business has helped to balance out some of the losses with continued growth. During the last quarter, Samsung's chip division earned 2.7 trillion won, making supplier relationships like the one that it has with Apple highly important to the company. Samsung is reportedly already manufacturing A9 chips for Apple, built on its 14-nanometer chip process that has outpaced TSMC's production capabilities. As detailed by Re/code, the 14-nanometer process will result in smaller chips that use less power.That's because Samsung holds a technological edge over TSMC when it

Apple Diversifies Chip Orders for iOS Device and Apple Watch Amid Predictions of ARM Macs

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has frequently offered accurate information on Apple's product plans based on supply chain information, has released a new report outlining his expectations for the company's chips over the next several years. Kuo highlights a diversified supplier lineup for Apple's A-series chips used in its iOS devices, with TSMC, Samsung, and GlobalFoundries all contributing to production. Kuo sees the 2015 chip breakdown with the A9 chip destined for this year's iPhones being shared by Samsung and GlobalFoundries, while TSMC handles the A9X that would be used in iPad models. That split is projected to flip in 2016, with TSMC handling the A10 iPhone chips and Samsung being responsible for A10X iPad chips. Perhaps most enticingly, Kuo projects that Apple could begin launching ARM-based Macs in the next year or two based on its custom chip designs.Apple may launch Mac products that use own AP in next 1-2 years. This prediction is based on the assumption that Apple’s self-developed AP performs at a level between Intel’s Atom and Core i3 and is good enough for Mac. Using self- developed AP can help Apple better control the timing of Mac launches and Mac product features.Use of A-series chips in Macs would certainly be limited to lower-end devices at first, but Apple's emphasis on controlling its supply chain and the improving performance of Apple's A-series ARM chips compared to low-end Intel chips could lead to a shift in the coming years. Kuo also looks at the Apple Watch, where Samsung has been reported to be handling the primary