TSMC to make Apple chips on trial

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According to Reuters, Taiwan’s TSMC has started trial manufacturing of next generation A6 chips for Apple Inc, a source familiar with the matter said, in a sign that the iPad maker is shifting from its traditional chip supplier, Samsung Electronics.

8 inch wafer

Credit: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd.

Whether TSMC would get actual orders for the chips would depend on its yield rate, or the amount of chips per batch that come out with no defects, the source said on Friday.
Samsung is the sole supplier of the A5 chips used in the iPad 2, but Apple has hinted it is keen to diversify its supply chain from the Korean company. Samsung has emerged as Apple’s toughest competitor in the smartphone and tablet market and is involved in an acrimonious legal battle with Apple over patents.

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TSMC spokeswoman Elizabeth Sun told Reuters she could not comment on this issue or on market rumors. Apple was not immediately available for comment and a Samsung spokesman declined to comment.

Analysts and other sources had previously said TSMC, the world’s largest contract chip maker, was set to become a supplier of some processor chips to Apple, likely starting next year. However the chip may not be called A6, the sources said.

Read more at http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/15/us-tsmc-apple-idUSTRE76E0MZ20110715

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