Now that the iPhone 5S has been released rumors are starting to surface about the iPhone 6, specifically who will make the processor for the device. It is assumed that Apple will release the iPhone 6 in 2014 and due to its bitter-sweet relationship with Samsung the Cupertino company is looking to shift some of its chip manufacturing to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC).
Such a move has been on the cards for a long time. Back in December 2012 details started to emerge about a mysterious company going by the codename of “Azalea”. It was thought that project Azalea could be Apple’s attempt to replace Samsung as its processor manufacturer. Azalea was thought to be the codename given to TSMC, which is the world’s largest independent semiconductor manufacturer, and that the company plans to build a new plant so that it can take over processor production for Apple.
Then this summer the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple finally signed a deal with TSMC which could see the Taiwanese company start making processors for Apple during 2014. In the meantime Samsung are still making the bulk of the processors that Apple use for the iPhone and the iPad.
Samsung are generally thought to be the current manufacturer of the 64-bit A7 processor which is made using a 28-nm HKMG process, as is the Samsung Exynos Octa. It was originally suspected that the move to TSMC would give Apple access to a 28-nm process but now it seems like that TSMC will be working with Apple on the next generation of chip manufacturing technology, maybe even 20-nanometer.
According to the Korea Economic Daily a large chunk of the manufacturing for Apple’s next processor, which is assumed to be the A8 and is thought to be the processor inside the iPhone 6, will be handled by TSMC. Samsung will stil play a part and it rumored to be responsible for some 30 to 40 percent of the manufacturing.
In the world of long supply chains and contracts worth billions, the move from one supplier to another can be slow, but it seems that Apple is finally starting to move away from Samsung, however it is unknown if Apple will ever be able to fully free itself completely from Samsung due to the Korean company’s huge size and reach.