Apple reportedly going to replace Samsung chips with TSMC CPUs next year

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There’s probably no greater rivalry in the mobile space right now than the one between Apple and Samsung, although one could argue that the Apple vs Google battle is also quite important for the mobile market.

In addition to competing for market share and profits in probably every smartphone and tablet market out there, the two companies are also fighting it out in a plethora of patent-based lawsuits around the globe. But at the end of the day they’re also business partners, with Samsung providing a variety of components to Apple, some of which are used by the latter’s iOS mobile devices.

We have recently heard speculation that Samsung will increase the processor prices for Apple, but also that the former will not supply batteries to the iPhone maker anymore.

Now, a new rumor coming from Taiwan tells us that Apple is getting ready to replace the CPU used in iOS devices that were produced by Samsung so far with processors made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacture Company, TSMC in short, a giant in the CPU-making business.

According to “industry observers,” TSMC is getting ready to start CPU production for Apple in 2013, but we can’t confirm anything just yet. According to these first rumors, Apple appears to be interested to move its entire CPU business to TSMC, but will it be a smooth move?

Apple requires some 200 million processors every year, which means that TSMC “will need at least more than 200,000 12-inch wafers ready to satisfy the huge demand from Apple.”

It appears that the Taiwanese company has a tough decision to make. From one point of view, adding Apple to its clients list would surely be a great move, as it would bring in lots of cash, cash that Samsung will also surely miss despite the tense relationship it has with Apple.

But at the same time TSMC has to make sure that a highly lucrative contract with Apple will not hurt its other customers, with companies like Altera, Qualcomm and NVIDIA being also among its clients.

It’s also worth remembering that TSMC is going to soon make 20nm SOCs, which could also be a factor when it comes to such deals:

TSMC recently broke ground for the sixth-phase construction of its Fab 14, a 12-inch wafer plant located in southern Taiwan. The new facility will become TSMC’s first fab to mass produce 20nm SoCs, and 16nm FinFET chips, the foundry revealed.

We’ll probably learn more details about this potential Apple-TSMC business and what it will mean for Samsung, financially speaking, in the coming months. In the mean time, get ready for more Apple vs Samsung drama.


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