Connected Apple analyst says TSMC will provide 30% of A9 chips for next iPhone

Connected Apple analyst says TSMC will provide 30% of A9 chips for next iPhone
Earlier this month, reports had TSMC shut out of producing the Apple A9 chip that will power the next iteration of the iPhone. That report claimed that Samsung and GlobalFoundries would be responsible for 100% of A9 production. But KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, perhaps the most reliable source for all things Apple, says that TSMC will get 30% of the A9 business. This echoes an earlier report from back in January related to TSMC's slice of the A9 pie.

According to Kuo, Global Foundries' yield producing the A9 has been a horrible 30%. A 50% yield is the lowest acceptable for mass production. In addition, Apple has been surprisingly pleased by TSMC's 16nm capabilities. And the smashing success of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 edge has Apple brass concerned that Samsung will be using its resources to produce the home grown Exynos chips used in those two handsets. The Exynos 7420 is produced using the 14nm process.

So Apple feels strongly that it needs TSMC to make sure that its chip requirements are met for what is expected to be a bit more than an evolutionary update for the next iPhone models. Apple could add the Force Touch feature employed by the Apple Watch and a dual camera set up to what could be called the Apple iPhone 6c and Apple iPhone 6c Plus. Another rumor says that Apple will also include the Taptic Engine used in its smartwatch and that the next models will be called the Apple iPhone 6s and Apple iPhone 6s Plus.

Considering that reports over which firm(s) would be producing the A9 have been going back and forth, this will surely not be the last word on the matter. Last month, one story had TSMC producing 70% of the A9/A9X chips to be used for the next-gen iPhone and iPad. Two months earlier, TSMC was said to be producing half of those chips. That same month, another report had Samsung responsible for 75% of A9 production.

source: MacRumours

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17 Comments

1. seven7dust unregistered

global foundaries seems to be messing up a lot lately , the market is competitive espcially with Samsung moving fast, they need to get it together before they lose more customers just hope they are more amercian chip manufacturing companies in the world.

3. vincelongman

Posts: 5717; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

What do you mean by messing up? GF have been doing very well recently, especially after their partnership with Samsung In fact some of Samsung's Exynos 7420 are made using Samsung's 14nm LPE process at GF's New York foundry And there's rumors Samsung/GF will start making 14nm chips for Qualcomm, Nvidia and AMD (GF already new some AMD 28nm chips)

4. vincelongman

Posts: 5717; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

*make (not new)

8. seven7dust unregistered

I mean with the 16 nm delays and their issues with AMD, I guess GFs new partnership with samsung is doing okay though. but they can't afford more messups like 30% yield on a big customer.

2. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Its funny how we hear rumors every year about Apple ditching Samsung for TSMC, yet they always fail to do so.....

5. vincelongman

Posts: 5717; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Can't really blame Apple They wanted to, but can't since TSMC couldn't keep up with Samsung Samsung actually aren't far off Intel now

6. Iodine

Posts: 1493; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Always ? 100% of Apple A8 and A8X are made at TSMC.

7. pendragon0202

Posts: 164; Member since: Feb 23, 2015

Samsung to apple is like a smoking hot chick who is perfect in every way. Apple wants her to just focus only on him and get his money, but this chick flirts like crazy with dudes named Andy and Tizen. So dude is all fed up with this so he ditches her and get a new girl. But no one beats her on the bed so the dude keeps coming back to her whenever he is drunk.

9. seven7dust unregistered

you do realize samsung chips divison is a buisness that works for profit, so your analogy just made the girl look bad ,sorry ! btw samsung mobile is seperate company with a differnt Ceo and they pay for their components just like everyone else. Apple also pays maybe more but no one knows , at the end of the day samsung chips is becoming the biggest business entity of samsung , which is good cause they are leaders in this area.

10. pendragon0202

Posts: 164; Member since: Feb 23, 2015

Nope.. it is not a separate company. It is a separate "business division" under the same company. They are never a separate company nor an entity of its own. SEC is divided into 3 major divisions: 1. CE *consumer electronics) 2. IM (internet and mobile) 3. DS (semiconductors and display) . And under those u will find subdivisions such as Home Appliance subdivision under CE, Mobile division under IM, Samsung Display under DS etc. So no... They are not separate and free to make their own decisions against the control tower of SEC. I know how many of you Appl fans try to make it look like Each Samsung company are separate ones competing BS but not true... Although SEC would welcome apple's business, of course.

11. Iodine

Posts: 1493; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

So far Apple has been either 100% TSMC or samsung for their chip. And if we consider that TSMC got shorthages (bacause Apple bought their entire manufacteuring capacity) and samsung has plenty of chips (which they shouldn't if they are making them for Apple) and other OEMS want to buy their chips (because they can't put orders at TSMC), it looks logical to me that Apple went with TSMC aggain. But we will see. The most important thing is that there will be FinFet in the new iPhone - great battery life.

12. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

If Apple doesn't play any part in the design/manufacturing of their processors, how can two different suppliers produce the same exact A9 chip? I don't get how TSMC can produce 30% of the A9 processors if they are "just Samsung processors with an Apple logo" like many are claiming.

13. AppleCultist

Posts: 335; Member since: Feb 18, 2015

There is no proof that any company splits production between different fabs with different production technologies. It would be too cost-prohibitive, since the neither the fabless company or the fab company would benefit fully from economies of scale. From a profit standpoint, it is better to just do a tape-out on one production process. Furthermore, the apple processors are nothing more than Samsung's old Exynos blueprints they sold to Apple when Apple bought intrinsity.

14. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

There may not be any hard evidence of any company splitting production, but then again not many companies run into the supply constraints that Apple runs into. You're right that it might not be as cost-effective as having one supplier produce all the processors, but even 30% of a predicted 230 million iPhone 6S is a large bulk order capable of bringing in some savings. It might no be as cost effective, but is it possible for two suppliers to make the same A9 chip?

15. AppleCultist

Posts: 335; Member since: Feb 18, 2015

That depends. Apple would need 2 different tape-outs if they wanted to split production between Samsung and TSMC. That would mean 2 separate designs, leading to differences in performance and power consumption, which would be a big no-no. Apple isn't designing a processor out of the blue like what many Apple fans think. They're designing it based on the fab's design rules. It's like ordering your pizza from dominos. In reality, Apple has very little control over the design of their processors.

16. j2001m

Posts: 3061; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

The 30% will the a9x CPU for the iPads including the pro

17. guest

Posts: 372; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

As I have predicted low yields for the faux teen nm . Only way a non Intel fab can "close the gap" with Intel process lead. Misname their node and then claim already in production. If GloFo is this bad Samsung yields can't be much better since GloFo had to sign up with a tech sharing agreement with Samsung to get to fauxteen nm. When is Apple going to learn? Intel is the only sure way to get your chips. 10 nm is only going to get harder.

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