Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) next-generation iPhone, dubbed the “iPhone 6,” could be powered by an improved A8 processor, which is already in production at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., or TSMC (NYSE:TSM), a new report said Wednesday, adding more credibility to an earlier rumor that the iPhone-maker could sever ties with Samsung (KRX:005935) as a chip supplier.
The report from Taiwan’s Commercial Times said that TSMC, which is the world’s leading contract microchip maker, started producing the new quad-core A8 processor -- expected to power the iPhone 6 -- in February. TSMC also builds the Touch ID sensors for the iPhone 5s, and has reportedly won most of the manufacturing orders for logic- and power-management integrated chips for the upcoming flagship smartphone from Apple, the report said, citing supply chain sources.
The Commercial Times report also said that the chip is based on TSMC’s 20-nanometer process technology, as opposed to the existing A7 chip, which was produced on Samsung’s 28-nanometer technology. The shift from the 28 to 20-nanometer process is expected to allow for smaller components, which could also help reduce power consumption, iDownloadBlog reported.
The A8 is likely to sport a quad-core 64-bit processor and quad-core graphics, while the current A7 chip runs quad core graphics and a dual-core CPU.
The news has fueled rumors that Apple wants to reduce its reliance for components on Samsung, which is Apple’s main competitor in the smartphone market. The relationship between the two companies has worsened over the past few years due to several copyright battles.
“This is another sign Apple has been shifting more orders away from Samsung,” an analyst at a foreign company in Taipei told AFP. “But how far Apple may push remains to be seen. It could be up to how much the Samsung-made parts and components could be replaced by those of other suppliers.”
Last year, the Wall Street Journal also reported that Apple had struck a deal with TSMC to begin chip production in early 2014.
As for the release of the iPhone 6, Apple is expected to continue with its annual release cycle and debut the new handset in the third quarter of 2014. Many reports also have suggested that the company is planning to increase the display size of the iPhone to more than 4 inches.