We’ve heard often in recent years that Apple and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) would soon be doing business together. Now, DigiTimes is reporting that the companies have signed a three-year agreement that will allow TSMC to product “A8” chips for future iOS devices.
According to the report, TSMC and its integrated service partner Global UniChip will supply A-series chips built on 20-nanometer, 16-nanometer, and 10-nanometer process nodes. The first of these will be produced in the coming weeks as part of trial runs. From there, full production should begin in early 2014. As part of the deal, TSMC will reserve phase 4, 5, and 6 facilities at its Fab 14 location in southern Taiwan for exclusive work on the A8.
As we often note, DigiTimes isn’t always the best source for Apple news. In March, for example, they reported that TSMC would join Intel and Samsung to product chips for 2013 iPhone and iPad models. So far, this news has yet to be confirmed elsewhere.
Apple has used custom A-series chips since the A4 debuted on the first-generation iPad in 2010. This same chip was used on the iPhone 4. An A5 was introduced in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. The third-generation iPad included an A5X chip, while the current model includes an A6X. The iPhone 5 includes an A6.