Apple and Samsung have been fierce competitors for years, but the two are also partners. Samsung’s chips power the phones of its biggest rival. The South Korean company powered the very first iPhone back in 2007 and continued to produce chips for Apple until Apple launched the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, it emerged that the 64-bit ARM SoC powering the phones wasn’t actually a Samsung-only chip. Instead, Apple had divided the production of the chip between Samsung and TSMC.
This was big news at the time, as it served as proof that Apple was trying to reduce its dependency on Samsung. However, it seems Apple will still be using Samsung for the production of the next-gen A9. In fact, TSMC might lose out altogether. Re/Code reports that because Samsung is already manufacturing on the 14nm process and TSMC is still using the 20nm process, Apple may opt to go Samsung-only.
Re/Code goes on to quote Samsung’s president and general manager of its semiconductor business as saying the company expects profits to improve as it starts supplying Apple with 14nm chips.
Late last year, there were rumours that Samsung had already started production on the A9 at its fabrication facility in Texas. In mid-January, TSMC said it planned to start its 16nm FinFET volume production in the third quarter of this year. The company had been planning for Q2 or early Q3 but this latest delay will apparently push its original timeframe back by one to two months.