Report: Apple dual-sourcing A9 SoC from Samsung and TSMC

Chipworks has begun its teardown of Apple's iPhone 6S, and the firm has already made a startling discovery. By delidding the A9 SoC in multiple examples of the iPhone 6S, Chipworks has discovered that Apple is sourcing its latest chip from not one, but two foundries: TSMC and Samsung. What's more, both of these chips are being supplied in the iPhone 6S right now.

From what little Chipworks is revealing right now, it made the dual-sourcing determination based on a difference in die sizes between the A9 SoCs it tore apart. One, the APL0898, measures 96 square millimeters. That manifestation of the A9 is evidently made by Samsung. The other, called the APL1022, measures 104.5 square millimeters, and it's made by TSMC. 

Chipworks speculates that the smaller die size of the Samsung chip demonstrates the Korean company's process technology scaling leadership. The site also believes Apple has been forced to dual-source its SoCs due to "major sourcing problems." Whatever the case may be, we're eagerly anticipating a detailed look at the A9's floor plan.

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