Apple is near an agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to produce its next two generations of processors, a Taiwan-based publication reported Friday.
DigiTimes said TSMC will use its 28nm and 20nm process technologies for the coveted A6 and A7 chips as part of the agreement.
“TSMC is believed to have quietly secured Apple's contract, and even succeeded in extending the deal to cover the manufacture for the A6's successor,” the report said, quoting its sources. “TSMC managed to negotiate a good price, allowing gross margins yielded by Apple's orders to be similar to its overall gross margin performance at present.”
Sources within component suppliers have also suggested that the A6 will power Apple's sixth-generation iPhone and third-generation iPad, expected to arrive next year.
TSMC was originally believed to have taken over the production of the current-generation A5 chip from Samsung. Now analysts believe that TSMC will not start fulfilling Apple’s orders until 2012, according to an AppleInsider report.
Apple's iPhone 5 is rumored to be powered by the A5 dual-core processor, used in its iPad 2. A previous report also stated that TSMC had already started a trial production of the Apple A6 line of processors that will incorporate the 3D IC technology.