Apple Reportedly Signs Deal with Samsung for 14-nm A9 Chips Starting in 2015

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The Korea Economic Daily reports that Apple and Samsung today officially signed an agreement that will see the two companies working together on future A-series chips for Apple's iOS devices, with the deal specifically covering A9 chips based on a 14-nanometer process node starting in 2015. The claim comes just weeks after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) confirmed a deal with Apple to begin producing A-series chips in 2014.
Samsung Electronics had supplied the AP [application processor] to Apple since 2007 but lost the contract to supply 20 nano AP A8 chips to Apple to Taiwan's TSMC last year when it was engaged in patent disputes with Apple. Samsung Electronics developed state-of-the-art 14 nano models ahead of its rival TSMC, regaining the order from Apple.
A previous report about Apple's agreement with TSMC had indicated that it was a three-year deal covering not only Apple's future A8 chip but also A9/A9X chips. The Wall Street Journal's report had indicated that Samsung would remain Apple's primary supplier through next year as TSMC began ramping up its production.

As a result, it is unclear whether today's deal will see both TSMC and Samsung producing A9 chips for Apple or if Apple has already shifted gears to return to Samsung as its primary supplier as part of its long-term roadmap.

Apple has reportedly been seeking to reduce its reliance on Samsung as a component supplier as the two companies have become fierce rivals in both the mobile marketplace and in the courtroom. The two companies have, however, continued working together in several areas, particularly where Samsung's competitors in the component market are unable to match its technology, production capacity, or pricing.

The shift to TSMC for production of the high-profile main chips for Apple's iOS devices had been viewed as breaking one of the most significant remaining ties between Apple and Samsung, but it appears that Samsung has been able to bring Apple back into the fold by leading the charge to 14-nm chips. With partnerships with both Samsung and TSMC, it appears that Apple should be well-positioned to take advantage of whichever company takes the lead in developing the latest technologies.

Late last week, it was reported that Apple had bought into a fab, perhaps with an eventual goal of producing its own chips for its mobile devices, although any such move is almost certainly years away given the need to ramp up expertise and facilities for such production.

Article Link: Apple Reportedly Signs Deal with Samsung for 14-nm A9 Chips Starting in 2015
 

lilo777

macrumors 603
Nov 25, 2009
5,144
0
Wow

It appears that Apple will be using TSMC, Samsung and Global Foundries (the latter - according to CNET) to produce chips. Something is messed up here. Perhaps Apple is just pretending to negotiate with all semi foundries (and this list pretty much includes all foundries in the World, there are some smaller one out there but those are out of the question anyways) trying to improve their negotiating position.
 

alksion

macrumors 68000
Sep 10, 2010
1,708
111
Orange County CA
This is smart. They know TSMC is no where near ready for the amount of chips Apple requires.

Keep using Sammy until TSMC is full grown. Sounds good to me.
 

AppleVsAndroid

macrumors member
Nov 12, 2012
64
0
Keep on signing the new deals and kick them out when there is a sound option! There is no need to showoff or speculate unless you are ready!!!
 
I speculate that TSMC just can't do it as well as Samsung. Apple tried and TSMC disappoints. So Apple goes back to the company that can do what they need.

It's not that hard to imagine an event where Samsung is showing working prototypes at 14nm and TSMC is having trouble with the next generation's stuff (and is not even really close to dealing with 14). Maybe the rumor of Apple buying a FAB is related to such a disappointment and Apple doing a "if you want something done right..."?

NO particular love here for Samsung but they are quite good at what they do (existing Apple stuff built with Samsung hardware works very well). TSMC? Every time I hear about Apple & TSMC, I wonder if the TSMC generation of Apple hardware will have beta- or alpha-testing experiences on huge scales. Hopefully not, but I'd personally rather have Samsung hardware underpinning new Apple gear than "plan B". If the latter, I hope they positively surprise vs. my own expectations.
 
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Amacfa

macrumors 68000
May 22, 2009
1,683
3,287
D.C.
Probably because with the low cost iPhone they are going to be pushing more volume.


TMSC for the cheaper iphone
Sammy for the Premium



Now which one will sell more, that is the question.
 

HangmanSwingset

macrumors 6502
Feb 28, 2011
324
216
Everett, WA
Apple probably guesses 2015 is the year people realize Samsung's phones suck, and this will be their way of keeping them afloat as they sit there and watch Sammy suffer.
 

Technarchy

macrumors 604
May 21, 2012
6,753
4,926
Apple has way too much interest and dealings with chip manufacturers lately. Something's amiss. It Seems like they are loading up on capacity. But for what? What is it they think will drive demand to such an extent that they need all these firms cranking out chips.
 

theOtherGeoff

macrumors regular
Jun 18, 2010
189
0
"Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer" I guess...
no... more "Business.... Always Business"

The contracts are tighter now, the competition with TMSC is there now... Samsung needs high volume customers.... Apple needs sub 15nm etching.

It's 20 months away... 3 generations of chips away (new generation this fall, another new generation next year... it's over the horizon for everyone but those that don't buy state of the art... but those who _DEFINE_ state of the art.)

If true, it's just a realization that Intel won't etch someone else's chips at their level, TMSC is not getting up to speed for the next generation.... and Samsung's VP of Fab came crying to Apple and said... "HELP me make my bonus!!!!"
 

sw1tcher

macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2004
1,762
2,357
Apple probably guesses 2015 is the year people realize Samsung's phones suck, and this will be their way of keeping them afloat as they sit there and watch Sammy suffer.
If this story is true about Apple signing a new deal with Samsung, then I'd say Apple needs Samsung more than Samsung needs Apple.

My guess is Apple realized TSMC couldn't meet Apple's demands/needs/requirements for the A chips and realized they better have Samsung pick up the slack.
 

theOtherGeoff

macrumors regular
Jun 18, 2010
189
0
Apple has way too much interest and dealings with chip manufacturers lately. Something's amiss. It Seems like they are loading up on capacity. But for what? What is it they think will drive demand to such an extent that they need all these firms cranking out chips.
My simple assessment is that you'll start to need a hex+ core SoC (4 CPUs 2 GPUs) to power a fully voice controlled iPad with Retina (local heuristics). If you need that kind of compute power, at 14 hours battery life... you too will have a lot of interest in chip manufacturing... as they are the limiting factor for what you can do.

iOS, Android, and Win8 are now competing for the fastest response time possible.
 

lolkthxbai

macrumors 65816
May 7, 2011
1,351
412
Whoa, either Apple was looking for a better deal with Samsung or Apple wants to have TSMC manufacture the low-end chips and have Samsung handle it's next gen. chips.
 

YesILoveTech

macrumors newbie
Jan 6, 2010
28
0
Apple probably guesses 2015 is the year people realize Samsung's phones suck, and this will be their way of keeping them afloat as they sit there and watch Sammy suffer.
What in the delusional fanboy hell did I just read? LOL!!! Dude at the end of the day Apple made a business decision in their best interest and it just so happened to be with Samsung. That's it and that's that. Gosh these explanations are so entertaining.

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Apple and Samsung are successful companies that have somewhat of a symbiotic relationship. Yes they are competitors and marketing will tout their respective products as superior to their counterparts...but at the end of the day you better believe there is a level of respect between the two...fanboys/girls are just too emotionally invested to realize this.
 

macs4nw

macrumors 601
.....The shift to TSMC for production of the high-profile main chips for Apple's iOS devices had been viewed as breaking one of the most significant remaining ties between Apple and Samsung, but it appears that Samsung has been able to bring Apple back into the fold by leading the charge to 14-nm chips. With partnerships with both Samsung and TSMC, it appears that Apple should be well-positioned to take advantage of whichever company takes the lead in developing the latest technologies.

Article Link: Apple Reportedly Signs Deal with Samsung for 14-nm A9 Chips Starting in 2015
A sensible strategy. Business is business. Leave emotions out of it, and procure the best possible components.
 

inscrewtable

macrumors 68000
Oct 9, 2010
1,627
390
As long as Apple produces the best product it matters not one whit who they use. And the Apple fan should be happy that Apple as a company does not have a fragile ego. What's the point of going thermonuclear if it results in Mutual Assured Destruction
 
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