A new report confirms that TSMC has kicked off trial production of Apple's A6 processor. The indigenously designed ARM-based chip is slated to power future iterations of the iPad and iPhone in 2012.
At this point, production design remains on track to be finalized in the first quarter of 2012, while the chip will most likely make its debut in a third-gen iPad later that year.
As AppleInsider’s Katie Marsal notes, if the above-mentioned report is accurate, it could "quash" persistent speculation about Apple launching a third-generation iPad in late 2011 - assuming such a device would run the next-gen A6 processor.
Although Cupertino has yet to release any official information about its indigenously designed ARM-based A6 processor, the chip is believed to incorporate TSMC's 28-nanometer process and 3D stacking technology, along with "silicon interposer" and "bump on trace" methods.
According to the Taiwan Economic News, TSMC has long been capable of handling processor production for Apple - but was prevented from doing so due to limited production lines which were fully booked by existing customers such as Nvidia and Qualcomm.
However, the economic recession has decreased chip demand, finally allowing TSMC to begin taping out Apple chips.