TSMC to dominate 28nm chips in 2013, may have clinched deal with Apple

Posted by Trent Nouveau

TSMC CEO Morris Chang says he expects his company to fab almost all silicon built on the 28nm process in 2013.

Unsurprisingly, Chang's statement prompted analysts to speculate that the Taiwanese-based company may have finally clinched a rather lucrative deal with Apple to build SoCs for next-gen iOS devices, namely the iPhone and iPad.

As previously discussed on TG Daily, Cupertino currently uses Samsung foundries for its iOS chip lineup, although numerous reports indicate the partnership is likely to end at some point in the near future due to multiple (and acromonious) patent disputes between the two industry heavyweights.

Indeed, TSMC has apparently already been tapped to manufacture future batches of Apple ARM-based A6X chip that currently powers Cupertino's most recent iPad. According to the Taiwan Commercial Times, trial production of the mobile chips on a 28nm process (as opposed to Samsung's 32nm) is kicking off during the first quarter of 2013.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that the transition from Samsung to TSMC may take as long as 18 months to complete. The new yields will likely power Apple's fifth-generation iPad, along with a second-generation iPad mini which is expected to launch during the first half of 2013.