Digitimes reports that, according to Taiwanese sources, Samsung Electronics and Globalfoundries have been contracted by Apple to manufacture the A9 processors using the 14nm process, with mass production due to commence sometime next year.
The 14nm products will be rolled out from Samsung’s Fab 8 in New York, said the sources, adding that Fab 8 will have an installed capacity of 60,000 wafers a month for the 14nm process.
According to Samsung and Globalfoundries’ roadmap, the two foundries plan to push their initial 14nm LPE (low power early) process, which was verified in February, into risk production in the fourth quarter of 2014 and small volume production in early 2015, the sources indicated.
In light of the new partnership for Apple’s next generation processor, the report also notes that Apple partner TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) will try to retain orders; including the A9 processor. The sources claim this will be achieved by advancing into the 16nm process, as TSMC plans to roll out a 16nm FinFET Turbo process “tailored to Apple’s requirements” Digitimes reports.
While we await the iPhone 6 with the A8 processor, the key debate seems to be over the next Apple A9 chip: expected to be used in the company’s 2015 range of iPhones and iPads.
As for the A8 chip, the rumour mill has spilled contradictory information: back in March, Apple’s sole partner was said to be TSMC, which has already started producing the processor using the 20nm process. Another report, however, said the production will be shared between TSMC and Samsung, which sounds likely because the A7 chip found inside the iPhone 5s was signed by Samsung, despite Apple inking a deal with TSMC.