The Taiwanese-based TSMC has reportedly kicked off trial production of Apple's next-gen A6 SoC.
If accurate, the report would confirm earlier rumors that Cupertino is phasing out Samsung as its traditional chip supplier.
According to Reuters, future A6 orders are contingent upon TSMC's yield rate, or the amount of "clean" chips per batch produced without defects.
"TSMC has got all the authorization and details ready," an industry source claimed.
"Whether Apple puts in a formal order will depend on the yield rate."
Obviously, Cupertino's (tentative?) decision to shift future chip manufacturing to TSMC won't sit well with Samsung, which currently produces the A5 chip used in Apple's popular iPad 2.
As tech guru Charlie Demerjian recently noted, the situation is bound to "get ugly" if the new Apple chips are indeed being fabbed at TSMC instead of Samsung.
"Samsung is in the process of building a fab more or less dedicated to Apple, or so insiders tell is. If this is true, and Apple just said, 'Nice of you to build that for us, but we are going over to TSMC' at this late stage, you can be pretty sure Samsung won't be pleased," Demerjian explained in an article on SemiAccurate.
"Could TSMC making Apple CPUs be the underlying cause of the Samsung/Apple tiff of late? Possibly. Even if it isn't the sole cause, wherever the chips end up being made, we are very likely seeing a contributing factor to a very public shouting match. Strap in, this one is going to be a lot of fun, as long as you aren't paying the lawyers."