In the face of poor chip yield rates from supplier GlobalFoundries, Apple has reportedly made the decision to award nearly a third of their “A9” chip orders to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC).
Well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities issued a note to investors on Wednesday, a copy of which was obtained by AppleInsider, revealing that Apple has apparently made what he called a “last-minute decision to recruit TSMC.” Apple is said to have called an audible after partner GlobalFoundries continued to experience poor yield rates on production of the next-generation CPU.
GlobalFoundries’ yield rate on the chip is reportedly hovering around 30 percent, well below what Kuo says is the required 50 percent rate for mass-production.
Kuo also reports Apple is concerned that Samsung will not be able to supply enough of its 14-nanometer design for the new chip. Better than expected sales of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are to blame, drawing some of the 14-nanometer production away from Apple’s chip.
A final factor, according to Kuo, is that TSMC’s 16-nanometer FinFET Turbo design has exceeded Apple’s expectations in both yield rate and performance.
Apple is expected to use the “A9” processor, sporting a smaller and more efficient design, in their next-generation iPhone and iPad devices.