Apple to move chipset production from Samsung to TSMC with Apple A6 SoC in 2012?

Apple

Given the increasing legal contention between Apple and Samsung, perhaps it should come as no surprise that Apple is considering moving production of their next generation Apple A6 system-on-a-chip (SoC) to from the Korean conglomerate to Taiwan's TSMC.

Dan Heyler, a semiconductor analyst with Merrill Lynch in Taipei, told the China-based Commercial Times newspaper on Friday that TSMC will most likely be producing "A6" processors for Apple, a next-generation ARM-based design, in 2012. That jibes with what Ars has heard from a plugged-in source—that the chatter on the foundry grapevine about an impending Apple/TSMC deal is growing deafening.

If Samsung doesn't get to see iPhone 5 early, why should they get the designs to the Apple A6, right? Of course, the nature of huge mega-corporations means Apple could be viciously suing one part of Samsung and still be on productive business terms with a completely separate division. Could being the operative word. Apple may simply not like the idea of Samsung having access to the SoC (and other specs) for competitive reasons. Or TSMC could be providing something else even more compelling to Apple for the A6, and moving away from Samsung is just a bonus for headline writers and Apple execs alike.

The current generation Apple A5 SoC debuted last spring with iPad 2 and is expected to hit iPhone 5, iPod touch 5, and perhaps an upgraded Apple TV this fall. That would put the timeline for an Apple A6 at spring 2012 if Apple holds to pattern.

[Digitimes via Ars]

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Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple to move chipset production from Samsung to TSMC with Apple A6 SoC in 2012?

5 Comments

Occam's razor: TSMC outbid Samsung for the Apple A6 production contract. Everything else was irrelevant and didn't even enter the conversation.

And where is Taiwan in relation to mainland China, who's communist government claims the island still belongs to the mainland? Wrap the tinfoil a little tighter dude. :)

If Apple does switch suppliers it's probably because Samsung was underbid. Apple is a company that excells at making money and they will go where the profits are. There's also the possibility that this is part of a larger strategy to pressure Samsung on both the lawsuit and production costs. The odds are we won't know the results until the ipad 3 is announced next year and ifixit tears it apart.