TSMC Preparing Production of 28 nm Apple A6X SoC

The chip is manufactured in 28 nm versus the current commercial 32 nm version and could surface in new iPad models. An upcoming A7 SoC is expected to be built in TSMC's 20 nm process, if the foundry is able to win the manufacturing order, according to the China Times.

TSMC is unlikely to remain the only foundry that is competing for Samsung's production volume as Apple is shifting its contracts away from its partner it has clashed with in court. Industry sources suggested that Globalfoundries especially is heavily bidding to win an Apple contract and Intel apparently has also offered some of its production capacity to build ARM-based processors.

According to the China Times, the 28 nm TSMC-built processors may debut by mid-year in a new 10-inch iPad and then iPad mini 2.

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  • thecouchguy
    Not surprised. Those two will probably never be friends.
  • rebel1280
    Should provide better battery life!
  • Cazalan
    Now you can expect the GPUs being made for AMD/NVidia to be put at the end of the line.
  • scook9
    And at the same time Qualcomm is looking to leave TSMC and go to Samsung due to yield problems at TSMC haha
  • freggo
    Good news for Samsung... that frees up much neded production capacity for their own Phones and Tablets :-)
  • redeemer
    @ Cazalan
    Not until they figure out how to put a 7000 or 600 series into a device say the dimensions of todays smartphones. No I say the GPU business will still be there for years to come.
  • somebodyspecial
    And NVidia is already there, 20nm taped out ages ago (may last year). So not sure it matters that NV is moving to the end of one line, but getting chips made at or near the front of another line ;) It will probably be a while before they pop out gpus from there but tegra's already being worked on (start little first, then move to more difficult chips). I'd expect 28nm gpus from them first as I'm pretty sure 28nm is mature for them and much easier to adapt the gpu to than a new 20nm process, but I could be wrong.

    Unless Intel starts fabbing for the enemy (I highly doubt they'll want to help the ARM race, nor help Apple lose Intel laptops for Arms), I'd say Apple made a very large mistake in pissing of the #2 fab in samsung. Samsung is the only other fab that gets stuff out ON TIME with good yields. TSMC and GF just screw stuff up. Apple will start to have even more market share erode to android due to this mistake. I predict problems with volume on their next phone/tablet if they aren't coming from samsung. TSMC hasn't gotten a process right in ages from the start. It usually takes them ages and they mess up NV/AMD's launches repeatedly. That doesn't bode well for Apple volumes and TSMC had a lot of experience with AMD/NV chips (which always suck in volume for months). Apple's going to be a new ballgame for them and it's an in house chip not just a cookie cutter arm as most of the rest are. Qualcomm is wisely trying to get into samsung too. I'm guessing the battery life/heat won't be as good from a TSMC process vs. Samsung either but we'll have to wait and see if that proves true. I don't see any good news here for apple regardless. You're not running to a better fab, so it's a loss no matter how you slice it and a gain for anyone moving to samsung (which right now looks like NV/Qualcomm gains).