Apple’s had a turbulent time with Samsung, both in the courtroom and the marketplace — which in part helped inspire Cook and co’s recent move away from Sammy as a chip supplier. But according to a new report Apple is hopping back into the silicon bed with South Korea’s finest.
The Korea Economic Daily reports that Apple has signed a deal with Samsung that will see them work together on future A-series chips for Apple’s iOS devices. Specifically, the agreement appears to be for the production of A9 chips (the iPhone 5 currently uses the A6), which will be based on a new 14-nanometre manufacturing process, and begin production sometime in 2015.
The announcement comes on the back of Apple shunning Samsung in favour of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC), who it chose to manufacture the forthcoming A8 chips from 2014. The Korea Economic Daily explains:
Samsung Electronics had supplied the AP [application processor] to Apple since 2007 but lost the contract to supply 20 nano AP A8 chips to Apple to Taiwan’s TSMC last year when it was engaged in patent disputes with Apple. Samsung Electronics developed state-of-the-art 14 nano models ahead of its rival TSMC, regaining the order from Apple.
Some reports have suggested that TSMC had also secured the contract for the A9 chips though — so it’s unclear if Apple will be sourcing silicon from one or both of the chip manufacturers comes 2015.
Apple’s been trying to wean itself off Samsung chips for a while now, and the recent TSMC deal seemed like a milestone; this news, if accurate, feels like somewhat of backwards step. But then when you’re trying to push the limits of what technology can do, petty disagreements clearly can’t stand in the way of cutting-edge guts. [The Korea Economic Daily via MacRumors]