By Binu Paul email: email@example.com | Mar 14, 2013 09:47 AM EDT
Amid reports about Intel gaining 10 percent of Apple A7 processor orders, a recent rumor has it that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is already in the process of taping out Apple's A7 SoC this month ahead of risk production in early summer. The development would mean that Apple would no longer have to rely solely on the silicon manufactured by Samsung for future iOS devices.
The report comes from the hit-or-miss Taiwanese publication DigiTimes, which says that TSMC is expected to tape out Apple's A7 processor on a 20nm process in March and then move the chip into risk production in May-June. If everything goes as scheduled, the company expects to start commercial shipments in the first quarter of 2014.
"TSMC is expanding production facilities at 14-fab at the Tainan Science Park with a total investment at the park of NT$500 billion (US$16.87 billion), said the sources, adding that TSMC will utilize 14-fab to manufacture the A7 chips for Apple," the report said. It should be noted that the "tape out" stage refers to the final steps in circuit design where the photomasking process takes place.
The report further states that TSMC has set a capex budget of $9 billion for 2013, which marks an $8.3 billion increase from what was spent in the previous year. Nearly 90 percent of the capex for 2013 will be used to ramp up TSMC's 28nm capacity.
According to a CNET report, the Cupertino tech giant is designing products now based on the TSMC's 20-nanometer process. Citing sources familiar with TSMC's plans, the report states that TSMC's Apple chip production is likely to begin in 2014.
Samsung remains as the sole manufacturer of Apple's A series processors, including the A6 chips that are being used in iPhone and iPad. As Apple looks to reduce its dependence on Samsung, the company is expected to ink deals with other chip-makers such as Intel. According to an earlier DigiTimes report, Intel has apparently earned 10 percent of A7 SoC production. It's reported that TSMC and Samsung are competing for Apple's A7 processor orders and an Intel support will help Apple in its ongoing crusade against Samsung as the sole producer of its A-series chips.
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