TSMC is reportedly beginning trial runs to produce Apple's A6X using its 28nm process, so does this mean Apple is almost completely done with Samsung?
TSMC has been on Apple’s radar for quite some time now, and evidently it seems like the move to switch over to the Taiwan-based foundry is pretty much set in stone. The China Times is reporting that TSMC will begin trial production of Apple’s A6X chip using the 28nm process (contrary to the existing 32nm A6X). Previously, Samsung supplied the majority of the chips that power many Apple mobile devices, but bickering between the two firms in addition to a recent increase in manufacturing cost of the chips may have caused Apple to want to take its business elsewhere.
The ultimate beneficiary in this whole situation is TSMC as it may obtain a long term deal to manufacture ARM chips for Apple, and as we all know Apple’s iPad is dominating the tablet market by a wide margin and the iPhone is in a heated battle against Android-powered phones (particularly those of Samsung’s).
There are no official words as to whether or not TSMC will produce Apple’s A6X at a lower price, but certainly price as well as the more efficient 28nm fabrication process probably played key roles in Apple eyeing the Taiwan-based semiconductor manufacturing company.
Recently, TSMC was reported to be experiencing issues with its 28nm fabrication process, but around November 2012 the company assured potential clients that the issues were resolved and it was ready to start making chips for big name clients like Qualcomm and Apple.
If TSMC’s A6X trial run is successful it’s very likely that future A7 chips will also be brewed by them. However, it remains to be seen whether or not TSMC can meet the demands of not only Apple’s but also other clients.