Apple and Samsung discuss... CPU production deal
Korean spin suggests A6 producer not picked
Samsung and Apple may be suing each other left, right and centre, but that hasn't stopped them talking about chip production partnerships.
Yes, Apple and Samsung continue to discuss silicon projects, according to a unnamed source "from an Apple parts supplier based in Korea" cited by the Korea Times.
Local supplier of parts to Apple? Must be Samsung then. Which other local supplier would know?
Samsung currently punches out A5 processors and other choice chippery for Apple, but may be displaced by Taiwanese foundry TSMC when it comes to producing Apple's next mobile CPU, the A6, said to be - but with no real evidence other than likelihood - a quad-core part.
Whatever you think of it as a brand or of its company philosophy, Apple is a shrewd business operation. With a new processor in the works, it will have been talking to Samsung, as its existing supplier, and to potential alternatives, such as TSMC - the world's number one chip foundry, a company that manufacturers silicon for other firms - and, we'd say, UMC, also Taiwanese and the world's number two chip foundry.
Potential contract winners can be played off against each other during negotiations to get the best possible deal, and Apple is good at gaining great terms.
So Apple is not only likely to be still talking to Samsung, but there's mileage from Samsung in suggesting it's not yet out of the picture.
Since it was claimed back in July that TMSC had already started work on the A6 - a process that take six months or more as the supplier strives to ensures its kit is capable of producing the required product at economically viable yields.
If TSMC does indeed have an A6 deal, that doesn't preclude Apple from looking to a second source to ensure it gets the number of chips it needs.
We can say that if Apple expects to include the A6 in the upcoming iPad 3, as some pundits have predicted, it had better get a move on an pick a supplier. If, indeed, it hasn't already. ®
This is just business as usual.
The Samsung Fab division is more than likely totally separate from the consumer division, therefore business with a lucrative customer [like Apple] will continue irrespective of Apple's legal spats with Samsung over handsets and tablets.
The bottom line is, irrespective of any Judge's ruling, the [Apple] devices are going to be built and I am sure Samsung would rather not see this business move to one of their competitors.
Apple benefit from a manufacturer who they have a fruitful relationship with in regards to the previous ARM silicone and are capable of meeting Apple's supply demand at a reasonable price.
Not quite as devious as some would believe, it's just good old fashioned business..
Nope, not even close.
Designing and building are 2 different things.
Apple has no fabs, they really don't produce anything themselves. They let Asians do all the work and just skim the fat part of the profits off the top.
The TSMC / UMC option has been discussed and written about at length. There's been doubts that TSMC can do the necessary process technology for Apple's chips at reasonable yields. Some Pundits have kept suggesting that Apple may end up unable to leave Samsung, cause besides Samsung, only Intel can build the new stuff efficiently, and Intel would rather use its fab capacity for their own IP, cause pure contract manufacturing isn't to American corporations' taste - not enough money in it.
Remember the debacle when Nvidia tried to have TSMC build too complex a chip? Cost them a year and profits for the entire 'unfixable' GPU generation. Yields were terrible, and leakage was such that they couldn't clock them the way Nvidia needed to, putting them behind AMD in the race. Because of the low yields, the parts they did put on the market cost them so much to make, it was a joyless business for a while. Not sure if they recovered by now.
I think Apple will go where the yields are best, given the volume they need.
It is a bit odd that mortal enemies on one front are quite happy to do deals on another.
So are Apple still not really designing their own silicon?
Samsung and Apple have agreed to stop suing each other and merge, the new name is to be Sample!