Report: TSMC ready to tape-out Apple's next-gen A7 SoC

Posted by Trent Nouveau

TSMC is reportedly ready to begin taping-out Apple's A7 SoC on its 20nm process this month ahead of risk production this summer.

As previously reported on TG Daily, Apple has reportedly been mulling over the possibility of shifting its chip production contracts away from Samsung to TSMC for quite some time now.

In the meantime, TSMC, Samsung and perhaps even Intel are reportedly competing for contracts to fab A7 chips for Apple, with industry insiders estimating full production of A-series chips at TSMC will kick off in 2014.

The breakdown between TSMC and Samsung? Samsung will likely receive 50% of Apple's A7 orders, while TSMC could claim up to 40%, with Intel taking 10%.

According to CNET, TSMC is expected to reach the "tape out" stage for the A7 this month and initiate early production in either May or June. Operations will reportedly be expanded at the "14-fab" located in Tainan Science Park, with investments in production facilities projected to hit nearly $17 billion.

As AppleInsider's Sam Oliver notes, a separate report recently suggested that both Intel and Apple were in negotiations to potentially fab next-gen chips for Cupertino's mobile iOS lineup, including iPhones and iPads.

"Intel may be making a shift to build ARM-based systems-on-chips for companies like Apple after the PC market has struggled in recent years against smartphones and tablets," Oliver explained.

"Intel's current CEO, Paul Otellini, plans to retire in May, and some market watchers believe a new chief executive could push the company in a different direction. In particular, contracts to build custom chips for mobile device makers could help keep the chipmaker's manufacturing facilities working at full capacity."