Apple, still trying to get out of bed with Samsung, finally gets a little TSMC on the side...

Apple, still trying to get out of bed with Samsung, finally gets a little TSMC on the side...

Apple, eager to find a manufacturing partner who isn't also their chief rival, Samsung, has apparently finally come to a deal with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) to start taking over at least some of their chipset production. Jessica E. Lessin, Lorraine Luk and Juro Osawa, writing for the Wall Street Journal report:

Apple is finding that breaking up with Samsung is hard to do. For evidence, look no further than Apple Inc.'s effort to find a company other than ferocious rival Samsung Electronics Co. to make the sophisticated chip brains used in Apple's iPads and iPhones. This month, after years of technical delays, Apple finally signed a deal with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.. to make some of the chips starting in 2014, according to a TSMC executive. The process had been beset by glitches preventing the chips from meeting Apple's speed and power standards, TSMC officials said.

Much like Google, who partnered with Apple on the iPhone only to learn their approach and ultimately compete against them with Android, Samsung built parts of Apple's mobile business only to learn how to make their own, Galaxy-branded devices. Having partners less likely to enter into competition with them is likely high on Apple's must-do list these days, and while it doesn't sound like TSMC will be doing the heavy chipset lifting, at least for a while still, that they're beginning is in and of itself interesting.

Smart move or foolish move? Should Apple get the best parts from the best providers, or is doing business with a competitor simply untenable?

Source: Wall Street Journal

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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, still trying to get out of bed with Samsung, finally gets a little TSMC on the side...

15 Comments

Wait so Google teamed up with apple to copy them and Samsung made parts for apple to copy how to make smartphone even though Samsung were making them for ages... Ok

Samsung didn't make smartphones by todays meanings of the term. The made fearurephones first and foremost. Nothing even close to the iPhone. In terms of Chipdesign, powersaving tricks, hardware layout etc. they obviously learned a lot from Apple.

So apple cannot make their cpu anywhere else but at Samsung because apple knows so much more about making those things? Strange logic.
In fact apple had to go to Samsung and not the other way around. Also Google can teach apple a lesson or two on maps, search and mail.
Apple goes through a lot of trouble to do something nobody cares about. Why is a Samsung free iPhone any better? More likely it is worse.

You don't get the point. I was talking about proper Chip-DESIGN in order to achieve acceptable batterylife while maintaining reasonable performance etc. Not Chip-Production.
But when producing those Chips, Samsung of course takes a look at the logic behind it... There is no doubt they learned from Apple that way.

Now Apple designs their own SOC, they can use whatever foundry makes most sense to them. TSMC currently has the 20nm process, a big win for battery life. If Sammy can beat that in the future ( or some other supplier) then they can easily switch. I think Tim is a pragmatist, so this whole "punish Samsung" meme is dead wrong.

I hope they can keep up with demand and not have issues like lg did and still is having with the screens they provided for the MacBooks. Samsung may be hated but they were probably the only one who could keep up with apples crazy supply demands

Ha Samsung only makes parts to copy others? And google only worked with apple to copy? Fanboy much? Could you even write that without laughing at the stupidity of it? I mean then again I forgot apple invented everything and never copied anyone /s

I know there's been wild ass speculation on it but this is one area I think it would really make sense. AMD is sitting at $2.91B market cap, BUY IT. I think it's a great fit with the direction that Apple is going. Finding foundries to do your chips goes out the window and you pick up a full line of semi-conductor products in the process.

Take that article with a grain of salt. It is obvious the author doesn't know much about supply chain management and technology.
It doesn't really matter if Apple continue to feed Samsung business on NAND and Display. Because TIm Cook knows well NAND and Display business make dismal margin. Compared to Fabs where there is a huge margin to be made.
But Changing Fabs doesn't happen overnight. The planning, testing and tooling for a SoC to use those Fabs happen years before it is produced and shipped to its market. And Apple has to make 100% sure this wont delay, cause delay to their products.

In many ways I wish this had happen a year earlier. But my guess it isn't a simple decision and even if it the decision were made there are many more problems to be solved. More likely TSMC never had enough capacity to fit Apple at the time. So from a more realistic point of view, this is as fast as Apple could have done switching to another Fabs supplier.

I've been subscribed here for a long time and have never commented, but this pushed me to it.

I am subscribed to many various Apple, Google/Android, BlackBerry blogs, and this one is by far the most biased. And until today I've looked past it, but seriously, this is the stupidest, most biased post I've ever seen.

You can't feed your biased OPINION with fabricated nonsense and expect to have people take you seriously; other than the "fanboy" crowd.

What is this, /r/circlejerk? This is absolute and utter drivel.

This is Rene sharing a report form the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Now, if you want to call the WSJ biased and opinionated that's fine but I see nothing editorial from Rene. He's sharing it and seeking reader comment.

"Much like Google, who partnered with Apple on the iPhone only to learn their approach and ultimately compete against them with Android, Samsung built parts of Apple's mobile business only to learn how to make their own, Galaxy-branded devices."

So you're saying Rene did NOT write that, or you just don't see that?

So when building stuff for and with Apple for the iPhone you don't think they used any of the knowledge they used there? He didn't say they copied, he said they learned.

The context implies copy though. As it's in the same area as Samsung copying: "Much like Google, who partnered with Apple on the iPhone only to learn their approach and ultimately compete against them with Android"

Apple and Google's approaches are worlds apart though. Apple is a walled garden. Everything works elegantly because it's strictly controlled. Nothing out of the norm. Android is the exact opposite, things work together, not because they've been forced, but because it's in their best interests. I can have two texting apps, that work with each other (Handcent for pop-up texts, and my built in messager for normal sending first as I don't like Handcent's App UI). I can have a different browser that isn't limited, I can have a different home screen, I can even put a different OS on it. I know there is "whited00r" or whatever, but I haven't heard much of it for a while.

Apples vs Oranges.

Google was making Android in 2007, saw something good and made something like it. You can't blame someone who was making a car with the clutch on the left (and being a US-side drive car) from saying "We like the way the other company is doing that, putting it on the right, not on the door, lets do that too!" They didn't take source code, nor did they make it identical, they made it function similarly.

Same with MacOS and Windows. I'd be willing to bet that if Windows looked like the NeXT instead of 3.1, that it would've still been said to be a copy by Apple. Microsoft didn't say they invented the Recycle Bin, but it was a logical step. As was iOS.

Apple didn't make Notficiation Center, and whatever that quick-toggles from the bottom thing is called. Both Apple and Google take from each other. Google didn't say they invented the look, but Apple likes to imply they "invented" things like Notification Center, or pressing the volume button to take a picture. Although, I think volume to zoom as Camera+ (iirc) initially had it, makes a lot more sense.

Samsung copied iPhones for the GS1 and GS2. I'll give you that. But the GS3 and GS4 have features that iOS doesn't. I don't get why Apple doesn't sue Archos over the Platinum 97 or 80. They look exactly like an iPad. I like Archos, but I mean, trying to say a GS4 looks more like an iPhone than a Platinum 97 looks like an iPad is just lying.