Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It's back: Samsung retakes production of Apple's A9 processors for 2015

If you were thinking the patent lawsuit issues between Apple and Samsung meant that Samsung would no longer be manufacturing processors for Apple, you were one among many. Despite this, though, a new report said on Sunday that the two BFFs and lifelong enemies have inked a deal that would involve Samsung building A9 chips based on a 14-nanometer process, beginning in 2015.

That would be in-line with the expected year for Apple to use A9 chips in its devices. In 2012, Apple used A6 chips in its devices, with A7 chips expected this year and A8 chips in 2014.

Apple has been known to trying to reduce its dependence on Samsung in its supply chain. In fact, in October of 2012, an unnamed Samsung official acknowledged the deepening divide between the two companies. He also noted, clearing up any questions, that Apple did the design and development of its A-series processors; Samsung was simply the manufacturer.

A previous report about Apple's three-year deal with TSMC stated it would cover not just the future A8/A8X chip, but also A9/A9X chips. The report, coming from the Wall Street Journal did, however, indicated that Samsung would remain Apple's primary supplier through 2014 as TSMC continued to ramp up production.

The new report, coming just a couple of weeks after it was confirmed that Apple had signed a deal with TSMC, enabling the world's largest dedicated independent semiconductor foundry to begin pumping out processors for the Cupertino, Calif.-based electronics giant.

According to the latest report, Samsung drew Apple back into the fold because it has managed to develop 14-nanometer models ahead TSMC. That was enough to regain the order -- though further out in the future -- from Apple.

That could be the last processor deal for either Samsung or TSMC, though. Late last week, it was reported that Apple had bought into a chip fabrication facility, perhaps with the idea that it could remove reliance on any of its current partners for future chip manufacturing, although it would take years for Apple to build up the expertise for such production.

That could, of course, be off in the future, when the Samsung deal expires.

No comments: