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.

tsmc

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 toward TSMC to complement the supplies from both Samsung and GlobalFoundries.

However, over the past couple of months there has been confusion and conflicting reports over the production of the A9 chip in Apple's next-generation devices. In December, a report indicated that Samsung had begun producing A9 chips. In the same month, another report indicated TSMC would be the main supplier for A9 chips in the next iPhone. Then, in January, Kuo expected TSMC to only provide A9X chips for the next-generation iPad. Finally, earlier this month, another report indicated that Samsung and partner GlobalFoundries would become the supplier for the A9 chip.

Top Rated Comments

chrmjenkins Avatar
85 months ago
I agree that there always seems to be rumors like this. However, where there is smoke....

I think it only makes sense for Apple to keep trying to get other sources for their chips. At a minimum it gives them some negotiating power with samsung. More importantly having a sole source can be a weak link in the supply chain. It is always better if they can have multiple vendors providing the same component. If one vendor has a strike, or is otherwise unable to provide the component, it is good to have another vendor able to pick up some or all of the slack.

So Apple should be working on this. Regardless of what we think about samsung as a competitor, it just not make sense to have them as the sole source for critical components of Apple products, even in the best case scenario.

Single source is just how the SoC business works. It would take significant manpower to tape out a chip on two processes in the same time as one process.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chrmjenkins Avatar
85 months ago
Not sure why these rumors persist. They've never been proven to have the same chip fabbed at different houses like this before, and it's very unlikely because their development time nearly doubles. They'd also have to have a design ready that they never intend to use unless one supplier has insufficient yield.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chrmjenkins Avatar
85 months ago
I wouldn't be shocked if they already have test chips with both companies (or are working with each of them to lay it out).

We have had chips that can be fabbed at multiple foundries, but this is at a bigger 40nm with wider margins that allow it more easily.

We know Apple does custom layout optimization that would be difficult to normalize across processes.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
boast Avatar
85 months ago
Single source is just how the SoC business works. It would take significant manpower to tape out a chip on two processes in the same time as one process.
I wouldn't be shocked if they already have test chips with both companies (or are working with each of them to lay it out).

We have had chips that can be fabbed at multiple foundries, but this is at a bigger 40nm with wider margins that allow it more easily.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Edd.Dantes Avatar
85 months ago
*****, I was looking forward to that 14nm Samsung chip #

Not to mention their new RAM and NAND.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
affinity designer contour tool

Serif Updates Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher With New Tools and Functions

Thursday February 4, 2021 1:58 am PST by
Serif today announced across-the-board updates for its popular suite of Affinity creative apps, including Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and the Apple award-winning Affinity Publisher for Mac, all of which were among the first professional creative suites to be optimized for Apple's new M1 chip. "After another year which saw record numbers of people switching to Affinity, it's exciting to...
maxresdefault

Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak Discuss iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, Privacy, Shortcuts on Mac, and More

Saturday June 12, 2021 6:12 am PDT by
As is tradition, Apple executives Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak joined Daring Fireball's John Gruber in an episode of The Talk Show to discuss several announcements that Apple made over this weeks WWDC, including iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and a large focus around privacy. Federighi kicks off the conversation discussing the common architecture, now thanks to Apple silicon, across all of...
M1X MBP Feature

Leaker: Upcoming MacBook Pro to See Price Hike Over Current Model, Equal Performance Across 14 and 16-Inch Sizes

Tuesday August 24, 2021 5:28 am PDT by
The upcoming 14-inch MacBook Pro is set to be more expensive than the current 13-inch MacBook Pro and both the 14 and 16-inch models will offer the same performance, according to the leaker known as "Dylandkt." The leaker shared the information on Twitter, explaining that both of the upcoming MacBook Pro models, expected to come in 14 and 16-inch sizes, will feature the same performance due...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Premium Subscribers Can Now Use iOS Picture-in-Picture: Here's How

Wednesday August 25, 2021 3:55 am PDT by
Google has rolled out picture-in-picture support as an "experimental" feature for YouTube premium subscribers, allowing them to watch video in a small window when the app is closed. If you're a premium YouTube subscriber looking to try out picture-in-picture, follow these steps: Launch a web browser and sign into your YouTube account at YouTube.com. Navigate to www.youtube.com/new. Scroll...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
twitterqrcode

Twitter Introduces QR Codes for Sharing and Following Accounts

Wednesday November 16, 2016 4:13 pm PST by
Twitter today introduced Snapchat-style QR codes, which are designed to make it easier to find and follow friends on the social network. Each Twitter QR code is unique to an individual Twitter user, so when scanned, it'll bring up the person's account. To access your Twitter QR code, you'll need the official Twitter app for iOS. In the app, go to your profile, tap on the gear icon, and select...
macOS Monterey on MBP Feature

Apple Seeds Sixth Beta of macOS Monterey to Developers

Monday August 30, 2021 1:11 pm PDT by
Apple today seeded the sixth developer beta of macOS Monterey, the newest version of the macOS operating system. The sixth beta comes three weeks after Apple released the fifth macOS Monterey beta. Registered developers can download the beta through the Apple Developer Center and once the appropriate profile is installed, betas will be available through the Software Update mechanism in...