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According to a new report, Apple may be looking to remove the “friend” portion of their “frenemy” relationship with Samsung, as Taiwan’s TSMC has begin trial manufacturing for the company’s next-generation A6 mobile chips. But will Cupertino choose to completely turn their back on Samsung?
Reuters is reporting that Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC has started “trial manufacturing” of Apple’s next-generation A6 mobile processor chip, according to a source with knowledge of the matter. Current chips are supplied exclusively by Samsung, including the A5 chip used in the iPad 2 and expected to arrive in the next iPhone model this fall.
In the wake of Apple’s patent disputes with Samsung, it appears Cupertino is looking to put a little distance between their competitor, who has actively pushed a wide range of Android smartphones and now tablets that even casual observers might say bear more than a passing resemblance to Apple’s own products.
"Apple is trying to diversify its orders but it will still maintain some kind of relationship with Samsung," explains Fubon Securities analyst William Wang. "I think TSMC will get the new chip orders, the issue however is allocation. Apple won't give the whole 100 percent to TSMC. Maybe it'll allocate only 20-30 percent."
TSMC is billed as “the world’s largest contract chip maker” and is widely believed to become a chip supplier for Apple next year, with what many reports have dubbed the “A6” processor -- although sources claim the chips may be called something else entirely.
“TSMC is an obvious candidate to win processor business from Apple as it has budgeted $7.8 billion this year to update technology and add capacity,” Reuters reports. “It also has experience with the architecture of British chip designer ARM Holdings Plc, widely used by Apple to make power-efficient mobile chips.”
Needless to say, a major shift away from Samsung isn’t going to come overnight, and the South Korean manufacturer will likely do whatever it can to hold onto Apple’s lucrative chip orders -- short of pulling their own line of Apple-like smartphones and tablets, we’d imagine.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter
(Image courtesy of Reuters and iFixIt.com)