Apple is reportedly planning to shift production of its latest A6X mobile processors from Samsung to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in a move to further sever ties with its South Korean rival.
TSMC is slated to begin trial production of the A6X, the processor used to power Apple's fourth-generation iPad, as soon as the first quarter of this year, according to a report Wednesday from SlashGear. The Taiwanese chip maker will allegedly produce a 28nm version of the A6X chip to power upcoming Apple products, including a fifth-generation iPad and a second-generation iPad mini.
The trial period could ultimately make TSMC the lead manufacturer for all future Apple processors, SlashGear noted, including the upcoming A7, which is set to be manufactured during the second half of the year.
An Apple contract with TSMC could deal a blow to Samsung, the longtime supplier of the ARM-based processors found in Apple's iPhones and iPads. The move could also represent an attempt on Apple's part to reduce its reliance on Samsung, given the heated legal battle waging between the two companies.
Apple in August won a major U.S. victory over Samsung when a California jury found Samsung guilty of infringing on a number of Apple patents for the iPhone and iPad, a verdict that ran the South Korean company $1.05 billion in damages.
The two tech giants are slated to return to court in 2014, however, to battle a new set of patent infringement claims related to their more recent tablet and smartphone designs.
Samsung and Apple did not immediately return a request for comment.
According to SlashGear, Apple is also eyeing TSMC as a potential manufacturer for the processors found in its Mac notebooks and desktops, which are currently made by x86-based chip maker Intel.
Reports of Apple plotting a move away from Intel started to emerge in November, suggesting the seven-year partnership between the two companies was starting to fray, as Apple looks to base all of its processors on ARM-based designs.
PUBLISHED JAN. 2, 2013