Samsung is back in contention to split Apple A12 SoC production for 2018 iPhones with TSMC
In case you still don’t understand how two bitter rivals like Apple and Samsung can closely work together to their mutual advantage on OLED screens for the upcoming iPhone 8, it might be good to remember all the times A-series SoCs were designed by Cupertino based on silicon produced in the chaebol’s foundries.
But back in 2014, TSMC replaced Samsung as the sole maker of Apple A8 processors, and the following year, the two semiconductor architects shared A9 orders. “Chipgate”, mind you, however insignificant a problem certain specialists ultimately deemed it, was Samsung’s fault, so naturally, TSMC won both the A10 and A11 contracts all by its lonesome.
Subtle performance variations are probably preferable to commercial delays, reportedly making Apple reconsider its commitments to chip manufacturers yet again. Samsung could be back in the picture already, purchasing “extreme ultra violet lithography machines”, which is some highly advanced equipment needed to produce “seven-nanometer mobile processors solely for iPhone.”
This is all speculation at the moment, and it doesn’t particularly ring true given that Qualcomm recently swapped Samsung for TSMC’s 7nm technology to power the Snapdragon 845 which should still find its way inside the Galaxy S9. Then again, this business is often so complicated and convoluted that we wouldn’t be shocked if more 2018 iPhones ended up using Samsung silicon than the Korean giant’s own next-gen flagship device.
Either way, TSMC will still produce an important chunk of Apple-branded A12 SoCs, that much seems set in stone.