Apple could go single-manufacturer with A10 chip for next year’s iPhone
Is the fact that the A9 SoC powering Apple’s latest iPhones is fabricated by two different companies, using two different processes, a big deal or not? Early reports claimed significant differences in power consumption between the Samsung-made and TSMC-made versions of the A9, but not all tests agree on those results, and the actual user impact of the issue is looking to be much more minor than first claimed. So while it may not ultimately matter which A9 chip you find at the heart of your iPhone 6S, there might not even be the potential for such a scandal next time around, as an analyst report suggests Apple could be going single-supplier for the A10.
Supposedly, Apple could tap TSMC to produce all the A10 chips it uses on its next-gen iOS lineup: no Samsung version to be found. This follows the TSMC-made A9 managing to slightly (and we mean slightly) edge out the Samsung A9 with current-generation performance, taking the lead on battery life despite the larger-gate fabrication TSMC employed.
While it’s not directly confirmed in this report, we also hear about TSMC’s growing interest in 10nm fabrication (as opposed to the 16nm TSMC A9), leaving the door open for the A10 being made with just such a 10nm process. Again, this is all coming from industry analysts, so it’s all a lot of “might” and “should” without a ton of supporting evidence, but this is one theory we’ll be keeping an eye on as iPhone 7 rumors start really heating up in the new year.