Apple may go with Samsung instead of TSMC for manufacturing its ‘A13’ chip next year

According to a new report, Apple is considering either Samsung or Intel for making the Apple ‘A13’ SoC for iPhone/iPad models next year. Apple is likely to stick with 7nm chipset designs for 2019 iPhone/iPad processors.

The South Korean company was once the exclusive manufacturer of Apple’s A-series processors for iPhones/iPads. As the two companies increased competition and legal battles, though, Apple began migrating to TSMC, which now enjoys a monopoly over supply. That could be a reason for Apple to bring Samsung back in since it could force chip prices down.

As for this year’s models, TSMC would continue to be the iPhone-maker’s primary supplier. The A12 chip is expected to be the 7nm-based chip and is said to have entered mass production to make its way inside three new iPhone models scheduled to be released this fall.

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“Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) enjoyed the benefits of being the go-to pick for chipmaking. But the 7+ nanometer processor with ‘Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography’ won’t be integrated by TSMC so quickly. Samsung could achieve integration sooner and win Apple’s business,” citing Taiwanese publication DigiTimes.

“The sources noted that Samsung is developing at full throttles InFO packaging technology and it has also claimed to outpace TSMC in kicking off official production of EUV 7nm+ process, set for the second half of 2018, seeking to win back orders from Apple in 2019… But industry watchers said that the EUV 7nm process involves yield-rate issues and quality risks, and even TSMC has yet to completely address the risks and will only fully incorporate the EUV technology in the 5nm node,” DigiTimes noted.

“Even if Samsung is selected to lead production of the A13, it could be joined by other suppliers. Apple typically gives orders to multiple suppliers to ensure new iPhone models reach the market on schedule,” the report added.

Samsung is still enjoying business from Apple however as the exclusive supplier of display panels for the iPhone X. The company remains the only OLED manufacturer with the capacity to meet Apple demand and is expected to hold onto that role with 2018 iPhones, though the mix could diversify in 2019.

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