Apple has chosen its biggest rival Samsung to provide the mobile processors that will be used to power the upcoming iPhone 6s said to be released later this year.
A report by Maeil Business Newspaper uncovered by Reuters cites unidentified sources in the semiconductor who claim that the South Korean electronics manufacturer has been named by Apple as the biggest provider of its A9 chipset, which is expected to be used on the next iPhone as well as the newest iPad Air and iPad mini that are believed to be announced later this year.
The local newspaper says Samsung will be responsible for 75 percent of the production of the A9 chipset, while an earlier report by The Korea Times notes Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will take care of the remaining 25 percent. According to sources familiar with the deal, Samsung's partnership with GlobalFoundries, the world's biggest foundry of semiconductors, was the reason why Apple chose its smartphone competitor over Taiwan-based TSMC, which supplied the A8 chipset for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
In a conference call with shareholders last year, Samsung executives confirmed that the company was producing sample 14 nm chipsets for a major client but declined to identify who the client was. Samsung said it had plans to mass produce the chips in 2015 and 2016, starting in its production facility in South Korea before expanding the production to its Austin, Texas plant. Maeil Business Newspaper says Samsung plans to produce the A9 chips in its Texas facility.
Further reports say Apple will be relying increasingly on Samsung not just for its chipsets but also other components that will be incorporated in future iPhone builds as well as the hotly anticipated Apple Watch. BusinessKorea says Apple wants Samsung to replace its current suppliers of RAM, NAND flash storage, and batteries for the iPhone 6.
NAND flash chips are a particularly thorny issue for Apple, which is being blamed for using low-cost, low-performance TLC (triple-level cell) flash memory chips, which are said to be causing crashes in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Toshiba, SK Hynix, and SanDisk are Apple's current NAND flash suppliers. According to BusinessKorea, if Apple and Samsung reach an agreement, the South Korean company will be supplying both DRAM and NAND flash for the iPhone 6s.
No word has been made about how much the entire Apple-Samsung partnership is worth. Representatives from both companies declined to comment.
If the report is true, this is not the first time the patent rivals have worked with each other. Samsung was the main producer of Apple's A7 chips which it used to power the iPhone 5s.