While Apple is busy capturing market share with computers and handhelds, the firm is also busy working on the successor to its home-brewed A5 system-on-a-chip. According to Reuters, trial production of that chip (tentatively dubbed A6 by the press) is now underway… at TSMC.
Samsung currently manufactures Apple’s A5 SoCs, but whispers have been circling the rumor mill about Apple seeking to diversity production—likely because it decided to sue Samsung over the company’s alleged copycatting of iDevices not long ago. As the world’s biggest independent foundry, TSMC seems like a prime candidate, and this latest rumor suggests Apple and TSMC are indeed in cahoots.
That said, Reuters’ source adds, "Whether Apple puts in a formal order will depend on the yield rate." (In other words, if TSMC churns out too many bad chips per wafer, Apple may look for another partner.) The story also quotes William Wang of Fubon Securities as saying that, even if TSMC gets a formal order, Apple won’t rely on it exclusively for A6 chip manufacturing—rather, TSMC might only be responsible for 20-30% of A6 production.