Samsung to stamp out 30-40% of Apple’s next-gen ‘A8’ chips, South Korean report claims

“Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will handle the majority of the manufacturing for Apple’s next-generation A8 processors, and the remainder will go to Samsung Electronics, according to a report published by Hankyung in Korea,” Amy Fan and Jessie Shen report for DigiTimes.

“TSMC is expected to cover 60-70% of total production for the A8,” Fan and Shen report, “while Samsung will remain a contract manufacturer responsible for the remaining 30-40%, the report said.”

Fan and Shen report, “Samsung has been the sole supplier of processors for Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices. The new 64-bit A7 chip in Apple’s recently-announced iPhone 5s continues to be manufactured by Samsung.”

Size comparison between Apple's A7 processor and its M7 motion co-processor.
Size comparison between Apple’s A7 processor and its M7 motion co-processor.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If true — and this is DigiTimes covering a Korean report (likely to be Samsung-controlled, like the rest of the country) we’re talking about here — then why did Samsung seem to be completely blindsided by the 64-bitness of Apple’s A7?

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Bill” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
After its disastrous Exynos 5 Octa, Samsung may have lost Apple’s 64-bit A7 powerhouse to TSMC – September 14, 2013
Samsung: Uh, someday our phones will have 64-bit processors, too – September 12, 2013


  1. @MDN Take, one thought is the whole chip design was handled by Apple and only the build instructions are shared. Even if you worked in the industry, if they don’t tell you, do you think you would automatically recognize a 64 bit chip design versus the 32 bit chips that are the norm. The things are so small, lots of 20 micron gates and wiring.
    That would explain it to me anyway.

    1. Correct; Samsung only receives multi-layer designs for lithography machines. There is no way to understand whether CPU cores are 64-bit or not; Samsung does not know anything besides big-picture guess which blocks of SoCs where, total transistor count (approxiatedly), and area.

    2. The other side of Samsung is there are many divisions in the company. When Apple makes a ‘buy’ from the chip side, there are no doubt non-disclosure clauses for the order.

      This allows only the people in the chip foundry to know essential details, while other divisions of Samsung may be prohibited from obtaining Apple’s product details.

      If this chip foundry leaked Apple’s details, you can bet Apple and other customers would bail on Samsung chips.

  2. If there was ever was a good argument for on-shoring chip manufacturing back to the USA, this is it. Why would Apple trust a company that has blatantly ripped off its IP in the past, trust it with its latest technological advancements with their chip design?

        1. It is probably because Texas Instruments does not have 20 and 28 nm technology and Samsung and Tiawan Semi does. There is a more serious problem here technologically Asian nations are pulling ahead of the USA. No longer do they just do the manufacturing using US technology and design. Now they are innovating and developing technology . Soon they will master marketing and we will just supply them wheat, corn, oil, coal,movies,ect.

          This could have military as well as commercial consequences. Note Google and Facebook are banned from China but Lenova and Samsung operate freely in the US. Sometimes they are even using our technology that they have stolen even after firms like Apple have won patent cases against Samsung and our bloated courts and legal system allow them to keep selling billions of dollars in the US. Of course all this was possible because the judge in the case was a Korean-American.

        2. A lot of truth in what you say, there is still that certain arrogance from the West that we are superior in all things important which we combine with the political will to create stability in these nations by supporting their industrial growth, ie letting them join the club. Of course to let them do that we have to turn a blind eye to all sorts of corrupt and suspect practices and our arrogance precludes the thought that eventually they will actually be running the club. Once there is a massive middle class market in the far east and that is already very large and growing rapidly, they wont even need to worry about our markets or technology. Wonder how we impose patent/copyright law under those circumstance.

  3. If Apple builds the best products it has to use the best components. Apple is pragmatic enough and astute enough to know this. Until Apple can find an alternate supplier at the right price fanbois will have to live with knowledge that their precious items have Samsung inside.

  4. I have been thinking about MDN’s take for quite a while, even before he brought it up.

    I believe that although Apple needs or does use Samsung for a portion of their chip manufacture, they don’t necessarily need them for the first run. IE: They ramp up with a vendor outside of Korea, then after the product launch, they bring Samsung in so there’s less time to copy, and Apple has leeway.

    1. It certainly allows flexibility to keep plans and technology from Samsung a lot longer I guess though I think this is as much about the practicality of putting all your eggs in an untested basket. Over time when proved more and more can be allocated to Samsung alternatives.

  5. Well, it was Samsung’s to lose — and they lost it. Instead of producing all, they will produce a sharply reduced portion. Presumably, this is only until another manufacturer is found as “backup” producer. Takes time. But the process is inexorable. Patience is rewarded.

  6. Intel and Apple could create an incredible partnership. Intel has their own chips to promote, but why ignore the chance to fab millions of chip for Apple?

    In any case, dumping Samsung for fabbing is long overdue.

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