Trial production of Apple's A6 chip starts at TSMC, devices coming in Q2 2012

Trial production of Apple's A6 chip starts at TSMC, devices coming in Q2 2012
Taiwanese semiconductor foundry TSMC has started trial production of A6 chips, the next-generation silicon for Apple mobile devices, industry sources revealed for Taiwan Economic News. The first products featuring the A6 are expected in the second quarter of 2012 the earliest. This trial run seems however to be forced by a respin of the design, possibly because of the planned use of 3D stacking for producing the chip. Earlier, repots started by Reuters claimed that first trial runs started last month.

To make it, TSMC is using both 28-nanometer and 3D stacking technology, which should result in better battery efficiency. The ARM-based, possibly quad-core, A6 was expected to land in the iPad 3 and possibly the 2012 edition of the iPhone.

TSMC is the world's largest foundry, but while it has previously worked with Nvidia and Qualcomm, it has only recently started collaboration with Apple. Cupertino previously contracted Samsung as its only supplier for both the A4 and A5 chips, but a couple of months ago a rumor suggested that Apple ditched the Korean company in favor of TSMC. At the time, the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Samsung started growing, which might have pushed the California-based company to diversify its suppliers. Prior to that, TSMC was fully booked and that could be the main reason why Apple didn't switch production earlier.


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16 Comments

1. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Guess what chip will be powering the iPad that gets announced mid-2012? And the next gen iPod Touch and iPhone that gets announced in 2012 as well.

2. Heatfan316 unregistered

That a6 is going to be weak just like a5 was, the Tegra 3 and 4 should be out by then and what ever Samsung puts in sgs3 will crush that a6.

5. ayephoner

Posts: 858; Member since: Jun 09, 2009

apple has proved time and time again that they dont need cutting edge hardware. they write very easy to use, polished software. that gets the ifans in the istores. why even come in here to say this? superior hardware is the ONLY thing other companies have going for them. otherwise they are all inferior products.

6. NoNoNo unregistered

Scaling back functionality is not the solution to good software.. it never has been. Apple deserves a lot of credit for the minimalist interface that it pushed for in the small form-factor market, but at the end of the day the "speed" that their phone displays is due to nothing other than the scaled back functionality that Apple users pretend not to notice.

14. Marc unregistered

I don't understand why it takes a lot of power from android phones to match the smoothness of iOS besides the fact that manufactures screw with the original os too much. in a nut shell iOS beats the unpolished android os. i bet any money if google manufactured their own devices they would match the iPhone just look at the nexus s it is fast and has good battery life its all google and no moto

3. pizda_ti_materina unregistered

bahahaha ignorance is bliss no doubt....a5 has by far the fastest gpu, check anandtech for proof. At 1024x768 has 10 more frames compared to gs2. I may hate iphone, ipad with a passion, but their SoC is by far the best.

4. ngo2dd

Posts: 896; Member since: Jul 08, 2011

Ya I just want on that website and you are misinform because that was again the Tegra 2. The Xoom was reading at a higher FPS then the Ipad 2. I guess igonrance is bliss for you.

13. pizda_ti_materina unregistered

Google GS2 GLbenchmark 2. Then go to anandtech search ipad 2 review. Compare the results but keep in mind mind the resolution difference (1024x768 vs 800x480). Mali 400 is not much faster than a SGX540, read up and than talk. A lot of things going on behind those final FPS. Good luck reading.

8. district11

Posts: 126; Member since: Apr 17, 2011

Spremeni si nick !

15. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Heatfan316 shut the hell up. Who cares about invidia or who ever else. People that like apple will buy apple,people that like android will buy android. Go get f'n laid for crying out loud.

9. Heatfan316 unregistered

@pizda ti materina you are such a f**kin lier go to YouTube and type in ipad2 vs samsung galaxy 2 watch you'll see who has the better gpu not even close so shut up

11. pizda_ti_materina unregistered

@Heatfan316 Hey douchbag, you forgot the resolution difference ipad (1024x768) vs gs2 (800x480)...nice try with your ignorant knowledge. SGX543MP2 is much faster than Mali 400. I bet you didn't even know the name of the gpu in the gs2. P.S. PS Vita uses SGX543MP4+ P.S. The benchmark you talking about is comparing the browsers not the GPUs ...once again I repeat...... IGNORANCE IS BLISS

7. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

I can see Samsung taking notes...

10. Heatfan316 unregistered

Last time I checked samsung makes processors for apple so I guess we could call you a dullard

12. pizda_ti_materina unregistered

They just manufacture them for Apple.

16. iosmaster

Posts: 115; Member since: Jul 06, 2011

Mmm @heatfan it not getting it Samsung just manufacture what apple say, apple design Samsung makes them, and yes @heatfan probable had never own an A5 chip device, it's really faster than SGS & SGS2, well last one it's fast but u can feel lag while using it my bro just bought one, and it's sucks cause it's supposed to be a monster,, sad.... Sorry it just gets me mad

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