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TSMC to make the Apple A5 processor?

Posted on Friday, March 11 2011 @ 19:20:17 CET by

EE Times reports Apple may shift its A5 processor orders to TSMC from Samsung:
''Rumblings about Apple’s decision to shift A5 processor orders to TSMC from Samsung have gathered steam,'' said Steven Pelayo, an analyst with HSBC, in a new report. ''While unconfirmed, we believe cooperation is inevitable considering TSMC’s capacity and technological advantages, as well as a lack of potential interest conflicts.''

If TSMC did indeed receive the business from Apple, ''the results show minimal incremental revenue contribution (for TSMC) of approximately 1 percent (and) 2.5 percent of 2011 (and) 2012 consensus numbers,'' respectively, he said.

''In prior reports, we noted TSMC was less exposed to 'Round 1' of the tablet wars as Samsung captured much of Apple’s silicon opportunity. We always expected TSMC to benefit more in 'Round 2' with non-iPad products, but now it appears the company is potentially poised to take a 'bigger bite of the apple,' '' he said.
Then again, Mobile Device.biz believes Apple is more likely to go to GlobalFoundries instead of TSMC:
My thinking is simple: Samsung is much closer to GlobalFoundries than it is to TSMC, so moving from Samsung to GlobalFoundries is easier. Just look at the Common Platform Alliance - this is a collaboration between Samsung, GlobalFoundries and IBM over semiconductor design and manufacturing. Its primary purpose is to standardise processes between the three companies so it stands to reason that moving between them is made easier for customers.

Then there's ARM, which has been a conspicuous supporter of GlobalFoundries from day one. The A4 chip featured an ARM Cortex A8 CPU and it's generally assumed the A5 is Cortex A9, so Apple is likely to favour any foundry with the best relationship with ARM.



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