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Apple Tests A6 Chip With TSMC

Apple has consigned trial production of its future A6 processor to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and the A6 processor is still a distant destination on Apple’s chip road map. It isn’t expected to appear in products until 2012. Analysts believe it will be quad-core, a first for an Apple A series chip and Apple is believed to be shifting its manufacturing orders away from Samsung due to a fallout between the two companies………….

 

Taiwan‘s TSMC has begun trial manufacturing of next generation chips for Apple mobile devices and the iPad maker is shifting from its traditional chip supplier, Samsung Electronics. Samsung is the sole supplier of the A5 chips used in the iPad 2, but Apple has hinted it is keen to diversify away from the Korean company. The two are battling a legal dispute over patents, and Samsung has also emerged as Apple’s toughest competitor in the smartphone and tablet market. “Apple is trying to diversify its orders but it will still maintain some kind of relationship with Samsung,” said Fubon Securities analyst William Wang. “I think TSMC will get the new chip orders, the issue however is allocation. Apple won’t give the whole 100 percent to TSMC. Maybe it’ll allocate only 20-30 percent.” Analysts and other sources had previously said TSMC, the world’s largest contract chip maker, was set to become a supplier of a next-generation processor chip to Apple, likely starting next year. However the chip may not be called the A6. TSMC is an obvious candidate to win processor business from Apple as it has budgeted $7.8 billion this year to update technology and add capacity. It also has experience with the architecture of British chip designer ARM Holdings Plc, widely used by Apple to make power-efficient mobile chips. Whether TSMC would get actual orders for the chips would depend on its yield rate, or the amount of chips per batch that come out with no defects. Some analysts said any switch by Apple from Samsung could be tricky.


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