Report: Apple taps TSMC for next-gen iPhone, iPad chips

Apple is in a bit of an odd situation right now—viciously attacking Samsung across the globe for alleged patent violations, yet reliant on the company to manufacture the processors inside iPhones and iPads. The rumor mill has been suggesting Apple could transition chip manufacturing to TSMC, and that could now be a done deal.

Quoting unnamed "industry sources," DigiTimes reported earlier this morning that Apple "recently signed a foundry partnership agreement" with TSMC. The agreement will reportedly see TSMC manufacture Apple's "next-generation CPUs" using 28- and 20-nm process technologies. Those next-gen CPUs could include not just the A6, but also that processor's successor. Production isn't expected to kick off until 2012, though.

Considering the rather heavy demand for iPhones and iPads across the globe, I wonder what this could mean for AMD's and Nvidia's upcoming 28-nm graphics processors. TSMC presumably doesn't have limitless 28-nm capacity, so supply of next-gen GPUs could be constrained by heavy demand for Apple devices. Such a situation might hurt Nvidia more than AMD, since AMD has said it will work with both TSMC and GlobalFoundries on 28-nm chip production.

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