There’s no time like the first time, and in the case of Apple and Samsung, the saying fits like a glove. Apparently, the two are in bed together as the demand for A-series chips is constantly on the rise and no one can quench Apple’s thirst for chips better than Samsung.
A report out of South Korea cites sources in the chip industry as saying that Apple and Samsung have put aside all patent litigation to reignite their once-flourishing partnership where one designed application processors and the other manufactured them.
The report in question cites the sources as saying that “Samsung Electronics agreed with Apple to produce application processors (APs) from next year for iPhones and iPads.”
The deal is actually for next-next-generation iDevices that will be released in 2016, including the iPhone 7 and any other iPads or new iThings planned for that year. The report specifically states that “From 2016, the company will supply 80 percent of APs used in Apple devices, and TSMC the remainder.”
TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) is currently the primary supplier of A-series processors for iPhones and iPads, but it will soon lose a bulk of its orders to Samsung. Most of them, actually.
The sources note that Samsung will leverage US-based GlobalFoundries (GF) to produce the chips.
“Apple has designated Samsung as the primary supplier of its next A-series chips powering iOS devices from 2016 as the alliance with GlobalFoundries (GF) enabled Samsung to cut off capacity risk,” a source familiar with the talks says, adding that the deal is valued at “billions of dollars.”
The sources elaborate that production of the 2016 chips – supposedly called the A10, going by Apple’s ongoing nomenclature – will kick off in South Korea initially, then it will move to its facilities in Austin, Texas, and the GF-owned factory in New York as output increases.
If history is any indication, 2015 will mark the release of an incrementally updated iPhone 6 lineup, perhaps called the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 6 Plus S. The Cupertino giant has a bi-annual schedule of releasing all-new iPhone versions, but the processors that power these things are upgraded annually.
As such, 2015 should mark the emergence of the A9 processor (and A9X respectively), while 2016 should witness the unveiling of the A10-powered iPhone 7, as well as new iPads based on the more powerful A10X spec.