Concerns are rising in the semiconductor industry about Apple’s rumored plan to drop Samsung as the producer of processors for it’s line of iOS devices.
Supply chain sources indicated to DigiTimes that it is expected Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company will begin producing chips for Apple in 2013. The publication has a hit-or-miss track record reporting Apple’s future plans, but is known for having sources in the Asian component making market.
Industry observers have indicated that Apple’s demand for chips is expected to be massive, needing approximately 200 million CPUs for iPhone and iPad production each year.
TSMC would need at least 200,000 12-inch wafers to meet demand from Apple. The possibility has raised concern among TSMC’s current customers, as they fear being squeezed out of Apple takes up the bulk of TSMC’s capacity.
“TSMC’s advanced process offerings serve the world’s major fabless IC firms including Altera, Qualcomm and Nvidia,” the report said. “While being capable of providing sufficient capacity to Apple, TSMC also does not want to upset its existing major clients, the observers noted. Allocating efficiently its production capacity will be a focus for the foundry in 2013, the observers believe.”
Chairman and CEO of TSMC, Morris Chang, recently allowed that it would make sense for his company to dedicate as many as two fabrication plants to just one customer. Some industry observers took that as an indication of a possible deal with Apple.
Samsung remains the sole supplier of custom ARM-based processors for Apple’s iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV. There is however, a growing chasm between the two companies, the two compete heavily in numerous markets as well as the courtroom, and that has increased talk that Apple plans to move its chip fabricating away from Samsung.