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Old Jun 24, 2013, 08:31 AM   #1
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TSMC Reportedly Lands Three-Year Deal for Apple's A8 Chip and Beyond




Digitimes reports that Taiwan Semiconductor Company (TSMC) has officially landed a three-year deal with Apple to produce the A-series chips that will be used to power upcoming iOS devices. The deal is said to begin with the A8 chip, with future A9/A9X chips also mentioned as being included.
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TSMC will start to manufacture Apple's A8 chips in small volume in July 2013, and substantially ramp up its 20nm production capacity after December, the sources revealed. The foundry will complete installing a batch of new 20nm fab equipment, which is capable of processing 50,000 wafers, in the first quarter of 2014, the sources said.

A portion of the upcoming production capacity, estimated at 20,000 wafers, can later be upgraded to process wafers used to build 16nm chips, the sources continued. TSMC is scheduled to volume produce the Apple A9 and A9X processors starting the end of third-quarter 2014, the sources said.
The report claims that the A8 will appear in a new iPhone "slated for release in early 2014", although it is unclear how that timeframe would fit into Apple's usual product lifecycle. Apple has yet to introduce a device running an A7 chip, and with that chip expected to debut in an iPhone later this year, an early 2014 launch for an A8-based iPhone would seem to be too early.

Apple has so far exclusively used Samsung as the supplier for its A-series chips, but with the two companies emerging as bitter rivals in the mobile device market, Apple has reportedly been trying to reduce its reliance on Samsung for component supplies. TSMC has been the most commonly rumored candidate to take over supplying Apple's A-series chips, but it has taken some time for the two companies to reach an agreement and work out any technical hurdles to the shift.

Article Link: TSMC Reportedly Lands Three-Year Deal for Apple's A8 Chip and Beyond
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 08:34 AM   #2
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Wasn't the issue with them that they were not able to produce the quantities apple needed?
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 08:36 AM   #3
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Jeezus, I can only imagine what the A7, A8 & A9 chips will bring to the table.
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 08:39 AM   #4
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huh, what happen with A7 ? they are testing small volume A8 in july 2013.
that can only mean one thing, that the iPhone 5S is already in production with A7 (which is still made by samsung i'm guessing).
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 08:40 AM   #5
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I cant wait

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Originally Posted by bjsterilite View Post
Jeezus, I can only imagine what the A7, A8 & A9 chips will bring to the table.
I cant wait to see what the next gen of tech will hold. Im keen to look back and laugh at how I only had 32gb of ram in my computer as it will be common place for a phone.
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 08:40 AM   #6
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Hmm... Many sources are claiming an early 2014 iPhone release. Could this be the larger iPhone?
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Last edited by SJism23; Jun 24, 2013 at 08:41 AM. Reason: Spelling error.
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 08:41 AM   #7
lolkthxbai
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Originally Posted by maflynn View Post
Wasn't the issue with them that they were not able to produce the quantities apple needed?
Doesn't this answer your question?

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TSMC will start to manufacture Apple's A8 chips in small volume in July 2013, and substantially ramp up its 20nm production capacity after December, the sources revealed. The foundry will complete installing a batch of new 20nm fab equipment, which is capable of processing 50,000 wafers, in the first quarter of 2014, the sources said.
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 08:42 AM   #8
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In next three years, they can switch to Intel too?
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 08:45 AM   #9
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In next three years, they can switch to Intel too?
I'd be cool with that as long as they don't integrate the hd3000 gpu

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Old Jun 24, 2013, 08:46 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by jabroon View Post
I cant wait to see what the next gen of tech will hold. Im keen to look back and laugh at how I only had 32gb of ram in my computer as it will be common place for a phone.
I'm still waiting for them to come with built-in personalities that develop based on user input and facial expressions
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 08:47 AM   #11
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It's amazing to see the posters on this board (referencing previous Samsung related posts) revel in something that truly you would not know the difference between.
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 08:48 AM   #12
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This seems to be mostly about Apple trying to separate from Samsung. It's always good not to rely on any one supplier, especially one that you are in patent litigation with.
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 08:49 AM   #13
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Personally I've stopped reading any article that cites Digitimes as the source of the rumour, because they are never correct. They just throw everything up against the wall to see what sticks.
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 08:49 AM   #14
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The report claims that the A8 will appear in a new iPhone "slated for release in early 2014", although it is unclear how that timeframe would fit into Apple's usual product lifecycle. Apple has yet to introduce a device running an A7 chip, and with that chip expected to debut in an iPhone later this year, an early 2014 launch for an A8-based iPhone would seem to be too early.
This is from the perspective of the foundry. With a July chip "release" end-user hardware can start showing up in September due to supply chain lag.

To me, this means late 2014 to mid 2015 for the first "laptops" with A9 chips powering them. They will like like Airs.

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Old Jun 24, 2013, 08:57 AM   #15
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Maybe Apple knows that 5S won't be enought for whole year (same desing,slightly better camera) and release brand new mighty iphone 6 in two sizes 4" and 5" in spring 2014 before galaxy S5.
Uff, i guess i'm an analyst now.
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 08:58 AM   #16
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5S releases in the fall, and the iphone 6 comes out in Spring to royally infuriate everyone who bought a 5S only 7 months earlier.

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Old Jun 24, 2013, 09:01 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by bjsterilite View Post
Jeezus, I can only imagine what the A7, A8 & A9 chips will bring to the table.
It's going to be amazing. The A8 or A9 will probably surpass the Xbox 360 and PS3 in power.
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 09:02 AM   #18
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I'd be cool with that as long as they don't integrate the hd3000 gpu

Image
I want a phone that does that! flippin awesome
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 09:04 AM   #19
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Given how Apple likes to test new processes in a smaller volume of shipping product before doing a new chip design on it, like the 32nm A5 in the iPar2,4 and 3rd gen Apple TV before the A6 was announced, perhaps the "A8" in an early 2014 iPhone is just a 20nm TSMC test A7 shrink that will quietly ship in a variant of iPhone 5S and they are just mislabelling it? A true new A8/A8X will then come later in 2014 as usual which is probably what they are referring to as the "A9/A9X" in their article.

Last edited by commander.data; Jun 24, 2013 at 09:10 AM.
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 09:05 AM   #20
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I want a phone that does that! flippin awesome
running ML? are you serious?
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 09:38 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by bjsterilite View Post
Jeezus, I can only imagine what the A7, A8 & A9 chips will bring to the table.
You're right. I guess then, I won't be getting an iPhone until I can get one with the A9 chip. Yessuree, that'll be the one. I know I waited for the A4 and then A5, and now was waiting until the A6, but I decided to stop all this "not buying until the next chip comes out" nonsense. I'll set the bar really high and not worry about it for a few years.

But someday I will get my first iPhone. Really. Apple just has to meet my (ever moving) expectations.
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 09:38 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by bjsterilite View Post
Doesn't this answer your question?
Not really. Just because TSMC has the equipment installed doesn't mean that the yield on those wafers will be good.

TSMC charges per wafer processed. They don't guarantee a yield of useful stuff off that wafer. Obviously, the wafer's yield can't be dismally low for an extended period of time. However, TSMC has a very solid track record of substantially lower than average yields on new process technology.

The fact they are starting at smaller runs this summer does not guarantee they will have the kinks worked out by Q1 2014. Capable of processing 50,000 wafers is different from actually doing it.

Apple may not like what other parts of Samsung are doing but the wafer factories deliver the goods. TSMC has a solidly different track record except when talking about mature processes.


If TSMC expects to get to 50K by Q1 2014 anyone who is actually depending upon that probably should count on Q2-Q3 2014 for that actually to happen.
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 09:42 AM   #23
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Some people have no clue.
Apple and Samsung are "frienemies".
Apple needs Samsung and the reverse is also true.

Apple couldn't get TSMC to dedicate fab capacity because TSMC didn't want to shave margins when they were already at capacity. Why give up margin by tying yourself to Apple, when you don't need to?

If they produce the first chip this summer, it will be next year before production. You have to get through in system test, characterization and 1500 hour burn in.

If the rumor is true, it won't appear in a chip until the middle of next year.
It won't be in an Air like at least one person said. The ARM processor is not a high performance processor and Apple won't fragment the laptop products and put an ARM processor in one and Intel in another.

----------

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Originally Posted by deconstruct60 View Post
not really. Just because tsmc has the equipment installed doesn't mean that the yield on those wafers will be good.

Tsmc charges per wafer processed. They don't guarantee a yield of useful stuff off that wafer. Obviously, the wafer's yield can't be dismally low for an extended period of time. However, tsmc has a very solid track record of substantially lower than average yields on new process technology.

The fact they are starting at smaller runs this summer does not guarantee they will have the kinks worked out by q1 2014. Capable of processing 50,000 wafers is different from actually doing it.

Apple may not like what other parts of samsung are doing but the wafer factories deliver the goods. Tsmc has a solidly different track record except when talking about mature processes.


If tsmc expects to get to 50k by q1 2014 anyone who is actually depending upon that probably should count on q2-q3 2014 for that actually to happen.
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 09:48 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by LastMinuteMike View Post
It's going to be amazing. The A8 or A9 will probably surpass the Xbox 360 and PS3 in power.
XBox 360 introduced around 2006 ( 7 years ago )
PS 3 introduced around 2006 ( 7 years ago )


Faster than technology from 3.5 Moore's law cycles ( rounding to a 2yr/cycle ) ago is amazing ?
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 10:13 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by commander.data View Post
Given how Apple likes to test new processes in a smaller volume of shipping product before doing a new chip design on it, like the 32nm A5 in the iPar2,4 and 3rd gen Apple TV before the A6 was announced, perhaps the "A8" in an early 2014 iPhone is just a 20nm TSMC test A7 shrink that will quietly ship in a variant of iPhone 5S and they are just mislabelling it? A true new A8/A8X will then come later in 2014 as usual which is probably what they are referring to as the "A9/A9X" in their article.
All these numbers are created by Apple.

Apple can rename their current chip to A31 and put it into the next phone if they want to.
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