TSMC to provide most of the A9 chips for the Apple iPhone 6s; Samsung is the back up

TSMC to provide most of the A9 chips for the Apple iPhone 6s; Samsung is the back up
Earlier this year, it seemed that Samsung had wrapped up the annual contest to decide who will provide Apple with the chips for the next iteration of the iPhone. In fact, just a few weeks ago, there was talk that Samsung had already started delivering 14nm A9 samples to Apple. And Sammy's perennial rival for the business, TSMC, will only be able to cut its 16nm wafers in any quantity starting in the second quarter of 2015. Using the 14nm process will allow Samsung to make the A9 chip 20% more powerful, while consuming 35% less battery life than the A8.

But don't cash your tickets in just yet. A report out of Taiwan says that Apple will give the bulk of the A9 business to TSMC, leaving Samsung as the second-string provider. The report says that it is a matter of yield. TSMC can apparently produce more chips efficiently than Samsung can. Apple would never leave a part as important as the SoC for its iPhone in the hands of just one manufacturer, so no matter the situation, both TSMC and Samsung can be assured of cashing some checks from Apple. TSMC produced most of the A8 and A8X chips found in the Apple iPhone 6 and Apple iPad Air 2, respectively.

Apple is expected to unveil the Apple iPhone 6s and Apple iPhone 6s Plus in 2015. The handsets will feature an incremental update over the Apple iPhone 6 and Apple iPhone 6 Plus despite earlier rumors that the handset will be equipped with a glasses-free 3D screen.

source: TaipeiTimes via MacRumors, SlashGear

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20 Comments

1. TyrionLannister unregistered

But....but 14 nm. Why can't Apple get this thing that Samsung has better 14nm FinFet. While TSMC doesn't even have 16nm yet. This can lead to samsungs monopoly in SoCs with only the exynos ones having 14 nm.

2. Ds.venkatesh

Posts: 7; Member since: Jan 21, 2014

Yeah.

6. Iodine

Posts: 1477; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

And can you explain how is samsung's 14nm better than TSMC's 16FF+ ? And can you plese explain me how "samsung has better 14nm while TSMC doesn't even have 16nm yet" ? Where are 14nm samsung chips ? Actually TSMC is well ahead in terms of process technology. While TSMC introduced a 28nm process in 2012 (all those snapdragons) samsung begun to produce 28nm in small quantities in first half of 2013 and they started mass production with the introduction of iPhone 5S and it's 28nm A7 SoC, or about a year later than TSMC. This year samsung had just begun with their 20nm process in August (samsung galaxy alpha and few galaxy note 4's). But TSMC had started mass producing 20nm before so they can comfortably make enough 20nm chips for iPhone 6, 6+ and iPad Air 2. And now if you were Apple what would you take ? Stuck with samsung and it's 28nm or go with TSMC and their 20nm ? Bleeding edge products like iPhone 6 wouldn't be possible with a 28nm chip. And now aggain, maybe samsung got a 14 nm FF process, but with what qualities and in which quantities ? And maybe it's 14nm but is it better than 16nm ? Because both of these processes use older interconects, size of tranzistors doesn't matter that much, but who will implement FinFet better does a lot. Apple will chose the best technology, like always. But whatever they will choose the FinFet tech will bring some serious battery savings. And because of their high volume they could possible prevent other players from getting to lower nodes like this year with 20nm.

11. TyrionLannister unregistered

Read this: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsung-already-delivering-14nm-A9-chipset-samples-for-the-iPhone-7-to-Apple_id63737 BTW, The exynos 7420 to be used in galaxy s6 is 14 nm. I own the air 2 and the A8X is a complete beast and better than any chip in the market. Also the exynos 5433 used in note 4 is superior to the Apple A8 in every way. And it's a 20 nm HKMG.

16. thegeneral7010

Posts: 437; Member since: Dec 10, 2014

i can see from previous that ure a processors fan so can u tell me if if u think that exynos 7 octa (5433) is the processor of the year ???

18. TyrionLannister unregistered

Technically, a8x is better but for smartphones, nothing beats 5433.

9. brrunopt

Posts: 742; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

BTW , those 14nm are actually still on 20nm ; just using FinFET ..

12. TyrionLannister unregistered

Nope. The 20 nm ones are HKMG.

13. guest

Posts: 371; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

Nope both TSM 16 and Sammie 14 are just 20 with FinFETS. Neither are true shrinks like Intel 14 nm. Google it.

19. TyrionLannister unregistered

Didn't know that. So the technology is 14 nm but the transistors are 20. Am I correct?

20. thegeneral7010

Posts: 437; Member since: Dec 10, 2014

samswg exynos is good but when it have The same spec with qualcomm I go to quatcoMm Samsung need To make somthing special about exynos something That only works with Sammy's phones and making it more compatible with it than any other devices then exynos will rock and beat qualcomm.

3. AlikMalix unregistered

I dont know, Apple keeps trying to end it's ties with Samsung, but I feel Samsung is best for manufacturing stuff... Hopefully this will not add to Samsungs downspiral (or are there really two different Samsung Entities, consumer product brand and manufacturing plants... regardless, Apple's contract can make you or break you... will be interesting to see if Apple can really end it with Samsung? (dont think it's a good idea, though)

4. Bertelgeus

Posts: 126; Member since: Oct 15, 2014

Apple doesn't want Samsung to peek at A9's internals to improve Exynos. With TSMC, Apple doesn't have to worry about this since TSMC doesn't make SoCs of their own. Sooner or later, Samsung will have to ditch either Exynos or foundry. They cannot keep both.

5. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

Stop acting like an iDiot. You're worse than that.

7. AlikMalix unregistered

I dont think Apple has anything to worry about from Samsung, they built the first 64bit right under their nose and dumb-stuck Samsung and the rest of mobile manufacturers over a year ago... and they still trying to catch up... it's more than just manufacturing a copy, you gotta be able to bring the ecosystem on board too...

14. j2001m

Posts: 3061; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

Nope samsung was 100% up on there 64bit a7, there was nothing they can have done about it as Google had no 64bit support to 5.0 and as the usa needs snapdragons all the time for games and so on they had no way of doing it in 2013, problem with not using there own os and cpu in the use and so on

17. ChiefSpartan117

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 31, 2014

The thing is that apple can't do the multitasking that the galaxy phones can look at multi window and that apple still has 1gb of ram but they are minimal in everything so that's why you pay $800 for a phone of lesser value also samsung has had a 64 bit chip but they couldn't use it yet as the android os still didn't support it but the a7 was made by samsung since android didn't support it but if you'd still like to call Apple a independent company well it's wrong in nearly every way you look at samsung you get what you pay for through and through and the much better android os besides 64bit architecture is practically useless on an iPhone since they can't truly multi task like a android phone can while all you iPhone fans enjoy having a actual full HD 5.5 inch screen that android has had for years and all the goodies android had in 2012 and even earlier

10. yowanvista

Posts: 341; Member since: Sep 20, 2011

You do realise that Samsung consists of several separate branches? The Samsung mobile division is independent of Samsung LSI, stop being such a fanboy,

15. AlikMalix unregistered

Read my post that you replied to and call me a fanboy again. You said exactly what I said.

8. Nathillien unregistered

Well, if Apple wants to stay with 16nm tech, so be it. The rest will lead the way with 14 nm. Go Exynos.

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