Apple to Shift iPad A6X SoC Orders From Samsung to TSMC
January 2, 2013 11:21 AM
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Apple looks to eliminate reliance on its bitter smartphone rival
Embroiled in an international patent dispute, Apple, Inc. (
) is looking to drop the "friend" bit from its "frienemy" relationship with Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
world's top two smartphone makers
, the American and South Korean electronics firms have seen an increasingly belligerent relationship in the smartphone industry; and yet they still are bound by a close tie. Apple pays Samsung to
manufacture the semiconductor chip "brains"
of its mobile devices.
But Apple is working hard to dump Samsung. Reports came on Wednesday that Apple was shifting contracts for its
fourth generation iPad's A6X system-on-a-chip
(SoC) to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Comp., Ltd. (
). The news was first reported in the
. The report was
later picked up
and other international outlets.
In 2012 Apple and Samsung are estimated to have done
$12B USD in business
together. However, as Apple shifts contracts to other chipmakers like TSMC that number is expected to dwindle.
2013 should still see large payments from Apple to Samsung. The TSMC production of iPad SoCs won't even hit the trial phase until sometime this quarter, and likely won't reach volume until the middle of the year if all goes well. And there's no guarantee all will go well; Apple
previously looked to shift away
from Samsung only to see those efforts reportedly
stymied by poor results
Samsung should also be able to soften the blow of any lost business from Apple with its
increasing relationship with Qualcomm
), maker of the Snapdragon SoC line which sees frequent use in Android and Windows smart phones/tablets. While Apple is fleeing Samsung due to external factors, Qualcomm appears to be
moving away from TSMC
directly due to its yield performance. Of late Samsung has begun to produce
Snapdragon S4 chips
for Qualcomm, a contract which TSMC was originally expected to exclusively supply.
Some reports have indicated that Samsung may look to punish Apple for its
$1.05B USD patent infringement victory
against it by raising prices on i-device SoCs. However, other reports dispute these claims.
AFP [on Asia News Daily]
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1/2/2013 2:15:08 PM
Not likely. This is TSMC we're talking about.
It had yield problems with both AMD/ATI and nVidia at
. Remember Big Green's pushing for "zero via defects"?
It had problems bringing
into production and ultimately killed that half-node.
If Qualcomm has problems with TSMC-produced SoCs because of yield, imagine what it would be like for Apple. Yes, TSMC can probably fill Cupertino's needs in a few years... but at what cost? Only Samsung can fulfill Apple's exacting needs right now without breaking a sweat quality-wise.
1/3/2013 5:15:55 AM
Since no one is mentioning Global Foundries, I assume either they couldn't handle the volume or they are also having yield issues.
"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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