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Old Dec 10, 2012, 09:30 AM   #1
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Apple Shifting to TSMC for A-Series Chip Production Earlier Than Expected?




While Apple appears to have been making efforts to diversify its supply chain and move away from courtroom and marketplace foe Samsung, production of one of the company's highest-profile components for its iOS devices remains entrenched at Samsung with the A-series chips.

There have, however, been rumors that Apple is looking into an alternative supplier for its custom ARM-based chips, with several recent claims suggesting that Apple could switch to TSMC's more efficient 20-nanometer process by late 2013 for introduction in the 2014 generation of iOS devices.

Taipei Times now reports that Apple's rumored timeline for shifting chip production to TSMC may be accelerating, with Credit Suisse analysts claiming that Apple appears set to make the jump as soon as the second quarter of 2013 using TSMC's 28-nanometer process.
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The projected timeframe would come "earlier than expected," Manish Nigam, head of the brokerage's non-Japan Asia technology research division, said in note to clients on Friday, citing their recent checks with several equipment suppliers and other companies in Japan, Taiwan and China.

Previously, Credit Suisse said it expected Apple would seek a second source for its chips other than Samsung Electronics Co by either late next year or early 2014.
Earlier this year it was reported that both Apple and Qualcomm had placed bids to try to secure exclusive access to TSMC's chip production capacity, but the foundry opted not to tie its future so closely to any one company, although it has indicated that it is open to dedicating a factory or two to a single customer.

Article Link: Apple Shifting to TSMC for A-Series Chip Production Earlier Than Expected?
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 09:38 AM   #2
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Good to see Apple trying to move away from Samsung components. Reduces leverage/control over Apple products. Of course Samsung is such an honorable company and would NEVER claim "part shortage" to hurt Apple..
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 09:40 AM   #3
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Bye-Bye, Samsung
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 09:59 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by spyguy10709 View Post
Bye-Bye, Samsung
This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google " posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 10:10 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by NakedPaulToast View Post
This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google " posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?
Quote of the day.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 10:30 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NakedPaulToast View Post
This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google " posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?
Worked out great for me—although some will pretend Google Maps were error free. (And some even believe it: confirmation bias lives!)

Of course, how things work out in reality and how the media spin it are two different things.*

* I’m not counting the way media spins Maps in Australia because a) I don’t live there and b) you can’t get any media in the wilderness where Maps will dump you.

P.S. One of the good things about ARM is that many companies can manufacture the platform. Samsung is in no way the only successful ARM maker, and Samsung did not design Apple’s chips—Apple did. Nobody will know the difference. (Note that Samsung devices with higher CPU specs “on paper” run slower and burn more power in real-world tests. Computing efficiency does not come from a marketing bullet point alone, nor a chip alone. People are of course free to time travel, comparing Apple 2012 chips with Samsung chips that don’t yet exist in the market; they must be assuming, then, that the amazing things Apple’s chip designers did this last time around are the end of Apple’s chip innovation. Every company has future plans except Apple, some will assume!)
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 12:03 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by nagromme View Post
Worked out great for me—although some will pretend Google Maps were error free. (And some even believe it: confirmation bias lives!)
Here's the difference tho:

Report an error in Google maps - fixed 24-48 hours later.
Report an error in Apple Maps - error still exists 2 months later.

Doing maps was a dick move on Apple's part. They spread themselves too thin, and it turns out that they are still absolutely crap at services.

I'm as much of an Apple fan as the next guy, but people need to recognise that whilst Apple is fantastic at creating great hardware and operating systems, they really have no clue when it comes to web-based services.

They have gotten away with it in the past as they had a fairly minimal customer base with the likes of eWorld and iTools. But from MobileMe onwards they were working with a much larger customerbase due to the success of the iPhone. Now they can no longer get away with saying things like "A small number of customers may be experiencing a problem", or completely ignoring problems at all - because they have so many customers now, they have to get it right, and they sadly still cant do that.

Maps will never be anywhere near as good as what Google does with their Maps service, and for a lot of blatantly obvious reasons:

- Google has a HUGE team that works on maps. The last report was 7,100 people. Apple has around 100.
- Google dont rely as much on 3rd party sources anymore, they have their own Satellite systems specifically for mapping. Apple rely on TomTom and a few other providers in areas that TomTom doesnt serve.
- Google also has the advantage of owning a fleet of UAV style airplanes to take bird-eye photos, and then dont forget about the fleet of streetview cars too.
- Google obviously has a huge headstart, so that advantage is obvious.
- Google has the ability to pore cash into their Maps - Whilst Apple has the funds, they wont ever be prepared to spend huge amounts on maps as its not a money making application.
- Google make a profit from their maps with licensing - Apple dont make a penny, if anything they lost sales because of maps.

I dont see it ever being anywhere near as good as Google Maps, and I'm taking in terms of accuracy here, not features. Google have a hell of a lot more tools at their disposal than Apple, and obviously Apple isnt going to shell out millions to get their own cars, satellites, UAV's, etc - they would have already been well into the process of capturing if they even had the slightest intention of ever doing this.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 11:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NakedPaulToast View Post
This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google " posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?
That's services. Apple has never done services well at all. Apple has in fact shifted hardware and chips before without a hitch. It'll probably be just fine.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 12:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NakedPaulToast View Post
This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google " posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?
well, seeing as how iOS 6 users still have no native google maps app, it's working pretty well.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 01:39 PM   #10
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Seems to fit into the existing rumors.

iPhone 5s in late Spring 2013 or even early summer.

iPhone 6 in the end of 2013.

With these releases, Apple spanks the competition out of the field in all ways except one: price. The rumored slide of Apple in the iDevices market would reverse completely and they could trounce everyone within the decade.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 04:14 AM   #11
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...but the foundry opted not to tie its future so closely to any one company, although it has indicated that it is open to dedicating a factory or two to a single customer.

You've gotta be cool when dealing with the big boys. "Yeah, I'm sure we have a few spare factories around here somewhere, if only we can remember where we put the damn things. They're definitely in Taiwan we're pretty sure of that."
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Old Dec 16, 2012, 05:54 PM   #12
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There is a lot of ownage in this thread. Good for Apple though.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 12:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NakedPaulToast View Post
This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google " posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?
Pretty good for most of us in the US.

But having a new chip is easy enough to test vs the A series to make sure that there is not any drop off.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 08:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NakedPaulToast View Post
This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google " posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?
I honestly never saw any quote remotely like that, at least none implying that Apple's switch would signify 'the end of Google'.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 12:19 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NakedPaulToast View Post
This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google " posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?
It works well for me and others. It also works like crap for others.
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Old Dec 16, 2012, 10:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NakedPaulToast View Post
This post reminds of all the "Bye-Bye, Google " posts when iOS went to Apple Maps.

How'd that work out?
Worked out great for me. Your point?

----------

I wonder why the people who admire Samsung "technology" are still on a forum called "Macrumors".
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 10:10 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by spyguy10709 View Post
Bye-Bye, Samsung
Samsungs new exynos 5250 absolutely rapes the a6 and a6x. Apple should have let Samsung design the a6 and stick with them for fabbing as well. Its also a much smaller die size which improves power draw.



2888 vs 1767 on the a6x and 1569 for the a6. And this is only the dual core exynos. The quad core version is expected to be released soon.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 10:29 AM   #18
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A newer processor is faster than an older one?

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Old Dec 10, 2012, 02:03 PM   #19
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A newer processor is faster than an older one?
Exactly. Look at the date each processor was available on a pocketable cell phone that you could actually order, and compare those dates of availability with what should be expected according to Moore's law. Nothing of significant interest here.

In addition, according to ARM's own architecture papers, the A15 is optimized for a very different instruction mix and application load. Until lots of apps needing that type of instruction mix are available, an A15 implementation will likely be non-optimal for mobile use.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 02:12 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by SeattleMoose View Post
Good to see Apple trying to move away from Samsung components. Reduces leverage/control over Apple products. Of course Samsung is such an honorable company and would NEVER claim "part shortage" to hurt Apple..
You guys make too much stuff up. What makes you think these companies would ignore their contracts?

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Originally Posted by HobeSoundDarryl View Post
How long until TSMC decides to do a Samsung on Apple? In other words, after making these for Apple for a while, how long until TSMC starts thinking: why don't we make our own phones, tablets, pods, etc? It worked so well for Samsung; it could work for us too (Apple has shown us the way).

I see many of us are celebrating Apple's "victory" in further moving away from Samsung. Why we can't look forward and see that Apple is probably just creating another Samsung (or three) is beyond me.
This is too ignorant for words. Go look up the history of both Samsung and LG. They were both making phones long before Apple. You may not like their phones, but that is really irrelevant.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 02:14 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by firewood View Post
Exactly. Look at the date each processor was available on a pocketable cell phone that you could actually order, and compare those dates of availability with what should be expected according to Moore's law. Nothing of significant interest here.

In addition, according to ARM's own architecture papers, the A15 is optimized for a very different instruction mix and application load. Until lots of apps needing that type of instruction mix are available, an A15 implementation will likely be non-optimal for mobile use.
the exynos 5250 shipped in a device a month after the a6 shipped and before the ipad 4 was even announced let alone shipped. Its barely any newer.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 10:34 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by blackhand1001 View Post
Samsungs new exynos 5250 absolutely rapes the a6 and a6x. Apple should have let Samsung design the a6 and stick with them for fabbing as well. Its also a much smaller die size which improves power draw.

Image

2888 vs 1767 on the a5x and 1569 for the a5. And this is only the dual core exynos. The quad core version is expected to be released soon.
The A6 & A6x are already out, though I don't know how well they compare to the Exnos.

I really wish Apple would standardize on one A# processor. The iPad's on an A6x, the iPhone 5's on the A6 and the 5th Gen iPod Touch is on an A5. I can understand if the processor in them was the latest at the time the device was launched, but that's not the case. Wasn't the current iPod Touch released after or about the same time as the iPhone 5, but has an older proc? Why the fragmentation? Just so Apple could sell more iPhones than iPod Touches?
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 10:49 AM   #23
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I really wish Apple would standardize on one A# processor. The iPad's on an A6x, the iPhone 5's on the A6 and the 5th Gen iPod Touch is on an A5. I can understand if the processor in them was the latest at the time the device was launched, but that's not the case. Wasn't the current iPod Touch released after or about the same time as the iPhone 5, but has an older proc? Why the fragmentation? Just so Apple could sell more iPhones than iPod Touches?
Why would they use 1 processor when these 3 devices have very different performance and power requirements. iPads have large batteries and very high resolution displays hence the use of a A#X type processor with higher clock speeds and doubled GPU performance. The iPod Touch is extremely thin and has a small battery hence the need to use an optimized older generation processor. In this case a 32nm shrink of the A5 in the 5th gen iPod Touch whereas the iPhone 4S uses a more power hungry 45nm A5. The iPhone has a larger battery than the iPod Touch so uses a "standard" A#. The current 32nm A6 is more power hungry than the 32nm A5 so wouldn't work in the 5th gen iPod Touch without impacting battery life or requiring lowering clock speeds which is fragmentation anyways. Fragmentation in SoC between the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch is necessary since the requirements are so different.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 11:00 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by blackhand1001 View Post
Samsungs new exynos 5250 absolutely rapes the a6 and a6x. Apple should have let Samsung design the a6 and stick with them for fabbing as well.
The exynos is largely a stock A15 implementation. There is much more design in the Swift A6 core than there is the exynos 5 core. Most of Samsung's work went into the memory hierarchy.

That being said, there's nothing spectacular about Samsung's designs. In fact, most of the design wins go to Nvidia, who can leverage their own graphics IP and have been forward thinking with their shadow core, or Qualcoomm, who has been doing custom ARM architecture implementations long before apple did swift.

Samsung has also yet to fit Exynos 5 in a phone or even a phablet. Thus, it's clear it wouldn't have been ready for the iphone 5 and it hasn't proven itself as a phone processor yet at all.

Quote:
Its also a much smaller die size which improves power draw.
Although I can find no literature on the die size, you're looking at the issue wrong. Power is a combination of process, transistors, transistor type, operating frequency, dynamic operating frequency, core voltage and power saving implementations that can be transistor level logic implementations or endemic like power gating and declocking. It also depends heavily on what fills the area such as cache, core logic, memory bus, etc. Different areas see different toggle rates, and hence, more power draw.

Quote:
Image

2888 vs 1767 on the a5x and 1569 for the a5. And this is only the dual core exynos. The quad core version is expected to be released soon.
A15 is no doubt more powerful than the A9 and recent custom implementations of the ARMv7s ISA, but they're starting to add a lot of fluff phone processors don't need. ARM is looking to take on Intel in the ultrabook/notebook and eventually even server space with their recent 64-bit processor announcements. Not really what Apple needs in a phone processor. ARM's introduction of the light A7 core is in fact a reflection of the fact that can't do a one size fits all approach with the A15.

It's also important to remember, as was noted, that their clocks are 25% higher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by guzhogi View Post
The A6 & A6x are already out, though I don't know how well they compare to the Exnos.

I really wish Apple would standardize on one A# processor. The iPad's on an A6x, the iPhone 5's on the A6 and the 5th Gen iPod Touch is on an A5. I can understand if the processor in them was the latest at the time the device was launched, but that's not the case. Wasn't the current iPod Touch released after or about the same time as the iPhone 5, but has an older proc? Why the fragmentation? Just so Apple could sell more iPhones than iPod Touches?
The iPad needs an X processor because it has more pixels to drive. The touch has an older processor because it's inherently a much more low margin device. Also why it has a worse camera and a worse screen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by commander.data View Post
28nm on TSMC is an interesting choice. Samsung's 28nm process is supposed to be a very easy shrink from their existing 32nm process since it uses the same design rules. That Apple is going to the effort of using TSMC's 28nm process really shows how much they want to move away from Samsung. I don't believe TSMC's 28nm and 20nm processes are technically similar enough that doing a 28nm TSMC SoC is a significant technical benefit although I suppose it'll be helpful from the perspective of general process and collaboration familiarization.
TSMC doesn't have a 32nm node. They skipped it. But yes, generally "half-nodes" do retain rules and a simple optical shrink is usually doable.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 11:07 AM   #25
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wonder if we will see a small test run by way of updated apple tv gen 4 or airport express/extreme.
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