New iPhone processor to use Samsung’s 32nm High-K Metal Gate manufacturing process?

Daniel Bader

April 11, 2012 3:57 pm

When Apple unveiled the new iPad, its dual-core CPU/quad-core GPU A5X chip was all the rage — and why not? It had the best prospects for a hit, combined with its Retina Display, and was poised to carry much of  Apple’s profits going into the next quarter.

But along with that milestone product, the Apple TV 3 was released with a single-core A5 chip powering the HDMI-compatible set-top box. Supporting 1080p video resolutions and an all-new interface, Apple TV may still be Apple’s hobby, but it’s also becoming serious business. Chipworks, a site that as you may guess deals with new and emerging computer chips, has unveiled some very interesting information on what may eventually become the A6 chip in the next iPhone.

According to an x-ray of what was thought to be a single-core A5 chip, it turns out that Apple has incorporated a new 32nm Samsung High-K Metal Gate manufacturing process into the chip design, which shrinks the die by 41% and decreases current leakage. It also appears that they have disabled one of the cores using a technique called binding, which is often what happens when a new process leads to low yields on an initial run.

This high-k gate process has been evinced before, recently in the announcement of Samsung’s own dual-core Cortex-A15 Exynos 5250 processor and unnamed quad-core Cortex-A9 Exynos which is expected to power the Galaxy S III. Considering Samsung has manufactured all three of Apple’s A-series chips, there is no reason to believe they would stop with the next generation. While the A6, or whatever it is called, may be based on the improved Cortex-A15 design, it is all but certain the chip will use Samsung’s updated manufacturing process to keep it in line with the growing competition from Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and Nvidia.

Source: Chipworks
Via: Anandtech

  • sp

    yes….you heard it here first..Mobile Syrup with the newsbreak.

    Apple used Samsung

    Let the law suits begin.

    would pick the SGS2/SGS3(when it comes out) over the iP4S/iP5(when it comes out) any day of the week….

    • PkaTka2

      Considering that the IP5 and SGS3 were not released yet, you show pure fanboisim, which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s highly irrational.

      At the end of the day it’s ur money. Do whatever you want with it.

    • boojay

      Doesn’t matter if the next iPhone uses superior Samsung parts…..it’s still an iPhone.

      Time to upgrade to a classier door wedge.

  • PkaTka2

    That’s gonna be interesting. I guess we’ll have to wait til the iPhone 5 to come out.

    It’s funny how in the court the battle each other like crazy, but when it comes to manufacturing, they look like two best buddies. I guess business is business.

  • John

    Iphail

  • SAM

    GET THE NOTE INSTEAD OF THIS APPLE GARBAGE!!
    GO SAMMIE!!

    • Jer

      As a ”phone” that piece of crap is way too big. Only geeks and tech enthusiasts find that useful.

  • darknight2cA

    Hey I’m apple I’m going to sue you but I’m still going to use your stuff lol

    If Samsung pulled the plug on apple they are soo screwed . Who are they going to turn to LG lol

    • Jer

      Obviously it’s a profitable relation for both companies, if one could truly get the better of the other by breaking it, he would do it… but they don’t, that mean they both need it.

      Apple would just find another company, don’t act like Samsung is the only option. Samsung would lose a huge contract and tones of money also.

  • gwar

    whoop-di-doo basil,
    what does it all mean?

  • JB

    It really means nothing other than proving, yet again, that designing a SoC is very difficult. While the current A5X is a beast of a chip the small space and battery in a phone demand a cooler, more efficient chip. You absolutely could not put the A5X (as it stands) into a phone

    As the article states, new process’ are difficult to master, so we saw the harvested die in the Apple TV and we will see the full SoC in the new iPhone. On-package LTE is also a requirement.

    Interesting that Sammy is at 32nm HKMG while Qualcomm is at 28nm HKMG and LP. Looks like TSMC is a bit ahead of the game, but will probably end up being meaningless.

    • bob

      first good comment so far

  • TheywillbepisSes

    Doesnt really matter, after all it is ios, pure horsepower is irrelevant when all you have is a set of static app thumbnails to move around

  • artstate

    So many articles about rumours… I mean, one of them was about some guy who BRILLIATLY found a way to fit a 4 inch screen on an iphone frame by changing the aspect ratio… yea, no s**t

  • Amanda

    I wonder if Apple is going to use Samsung’s integrated Soc LTE solution. If so it would coast a pretty penny and Apple would not increase other components of the phone like processing power, screen quality or the camera to keep the profit margin similar to previous iphones. Either way probably means several more quarters of record profits for Samsung.