RUMOR: Apple in talks with Samsung over quad-core ‘A6’ mobile processor production

“Despite a raging patent war, Samsung Electronics and Apple maintain and are expected to maintain their relationship as chip supplier and buyer,” Kim Yoo-chul reports for The Korea Times.

“Industry sources say that Apple will continue to use Samsung’s chips and technology for its next smartphone, which may or may not be named the iPhone 5,” Kim reports. “‘Apple has been in talks with Samsung over shipment of its A6 quad-core mobile processor (AP) chips to be used in the next iPhone. It appears that Apple clearly has concluded that Samsung remains a critical business partner,’ an executive from an Apple parts supplier based in Korea said on condition of anonymity. He said that Samsung has been increasing the output of the Apple-designed A6 chips in its manufacturing plant in Austin, Texas.”

Kim reports, “There had been speculation that Apple would shift its chip sourcing channel to Samsung rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC). ‘Samsung Electronics will apply its advanced 28-nanometer processing technology to produce qualified A6 mobile APs. TSMC will provide customized chips with designs from Apple, however, the volume will be very small,’ said the executive.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: A Korea Times report based on a single source identified as “an executive from an Apple parts supplier based in Korea.” Gee, what are the odds that the Korea-based (Korea-owning is more like it) Samsung is placing items into the Korean press for what they think are strategic reasons?

12 Comments

  1. No matter what court battles are about, Apple was always highly pragmatic. If Samsung will prove that they have working 28nm process for a good price, then, of course, it is always good to have diversified supply chain. Even if the majority of A6 orders will go to Taiwanese TSMC, chip manufacturing processes are not that reliable so manufacturers might suffer from complicated problems.

    1. You’re right on one hand- process technology is really critical here. But I’m not sure that Samsung has the process technology edge, and that Apple might not skip a generation and go, instead of 28nm to 22nm or smaller, with the A6.

      This is an opportunity for a major organization score a major long term deal with Apple.

      Might be intel.

  2. rarely does law suits become personal in business. Lawsuits are considered nothing more than accessing a neutral 3rd party to settle a disagreement. If Samsung is the best provider of processors, then Apple will use them. Besides, it’s highly likely that Apple owns the equipment those processors are produced on.

  3. Agree. Bogus news intended to prop up Samsung stock and its decaying lines of business by reassuring the market that all is well concerning Apple business.

    Pragmatic or not, you don’t buy from a two-bit thief who is trying to have your products banned.

    No Samsung or Korean products for my family.

  4. Apple needs to do whatever they feel is necessary to help them achieve their objectives.
    That includes working with multiple suppliers to ensure component supply even when they are having patent issues for other reasons.

  5. With Samsung willing to infringe on Apple patents, I would imagine Apple would be more careful in sending new technology their way. If the A6 in not anything too privileged, then I see no problem, but Apple is paying them and competing with them at the same time. They have the inside scoop on Apple products. Doesn’t seem like a good idea.

  6. Despite previous rumors about TSMC, I sort of believe Samsung will continue to be the main “A-chip” fabricator. They have the experience (working with Apple) and proven capability. And Apple is currently using the A4 in iPhone 4, iPod touch, and Apple TV, and A5 in iPhone 4S and iPad, and there is no talk about taking that business elsewhere. So it would be far more efficient (and far less risky) to follow on with Samsung (on the A6), instead of developing a brand new partnership.

    The necessary production volume on the A6 will be insane. If the next iPad is going to use it in early 2012, they need to start stockpiling the parts by the end of 2011. I doubt it will be possible with TSMC.

  7. If there’s a will there’s a way.

    If there’s any chance of Apple even considering doing more business with Samsung, It will not be without iron clad guarantees .

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