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Bryan M. Wolfe
| December 18, 2013
Apple's New A-Series Processors Are Getting Smaller As TSMC Takes Over
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., better known as TSMC, will provide the bulk of the A-series processors found in future iOS devices. Additionally, these chips will be significantly smaller than previous models, according to Digitimes. By 2015, TSMC “should land 60-70%” of Apple’s orders, with South Korea’s Samsung providing the rest. In the process, the manufacturers will shift to a new, 14- and 16-nanometer FinFET-based fabrication process. Apple’s A7 processor, which is found on the iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and iPad mini with Retina display, is built by Samsung on a 28-nanometer process fab. In 2014, Apple’s “A8” chip is likely to be built by TSMC on a 20-nanometer process fab. Digitimes notes that Samsung is also likely to produce the A8 processor for Apple. As AppleInsider noted, these changes are “largely an exercise in making things smaller. Moving from traditional planar transistors to FinFET — essentially a new, ‘three dimensional’ type of transistor — on the other hand means an entirely new manufacturing process.” To date, only Intel has been capable of manufacturing FinFET-based devices. This isn't the first time it has been rumored that TSMC was replacing Samsung as Apple's primary chip manufacturer. In June, The Wall Street Journal said that TSMC would be supplying Apple with the A8 chips for future iDevices. In September, Korean newspaper Hankyung, noted Samsung will be responsible for only 30 to 40 percent of the production of the upcoming A8 chip, while TSMC would handle the rest. See also: Samsung Hires Apple Store Designer Ahead Of 'Deeper Investment In US Retail', and Apple Is Having A Hard Time Saying Goodbye To Samsung As A Parts Supplier.