Apple reportedly gave an exclusive manufacturing deal to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) for the A10 processor used in the upcoming iPhone 7. The deal means Samsung won’t get to cash in on the next iPhone model, and sources say TSMC already scored an exclusive deal for the A11 processor in 2017’s iPhone lineup.
Sources told Economic Daily News (via Digitimes) TSMC is already doing the preliminary work on next year’s processor. The company reportedly will use a 10 nanometer FinFET manufacturing process, giving it a leg up on Samsung.
Word that TSMC scored its exclusive deal for the A10 processor first surfaced in February. That deal cut Samsung out of Apple’s lucrative iPhone processor manufacturing, distancing the smartphone rivals. With TSMC reportedly making all of the A11 processors, it looks like Apple is pushing Samsung even farther away.
Cutting Samsung out of iPhone and iPad chip manufacturing isn’t a big surprise considering the two have been fighting in court for years over mobile device patent infringement claims. Samsung’s Android-based smartphones are also a serious competitor for the iPhone—competition Apple feels Samsung created by stealing designes from iPhone patents.
Apple also had to deal with negative press after benchmarks showed the Samsung made A9 processors in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus drained batteries faster than the TSMC versions. Apple issued a statement saying the two versions performed the same under real world circumstances, but the company was left with egg on its face until the media moved on to other news.
TSMC is expected to start preliminary A11 chip production in the second quarter of 2017 in preparation for what’s currently being called the iPhone 8. For Apple, the exclusive TSMC deal looks like a two-part win: it’s getting all the processors it needs for iPhone production, and Samsung doesn’t get in on the game.