Apple A8 (teaser 001)

A new story published by Taiwan’s Commercial Times (Google translate) and relayed by Agence France Presse has it that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s largest independent foundry, has begun churning out A8 chips that will likely serve as the engine for the coming wave of iOS devices, namely the iPhone 6 and the next iPad.

TSMC also builds Touch ID sensors for the iPhone 5s. The firm is understood to account for the bulk of A8 chip manufacture as Apple’s been attempting to decrease its reliance on Samsung, which up until recently used to exclusively build mobile processors for iOS devices based on Apple’s blueprints…

Citing supply chain sources, the story claimed TSMC had won most of the manufacturing orders for logic and power management integrated chips for the next iPhone, which The Commercial Times forecast would arrive early in the third quarter.

The chip is reportedly being fabbed on TSMC’s 20-nanometer process technology, as opposed to the current A7 silicon that’s being produced on Samsung’s 28-nanometer high-κ metal gate technology. Moving from the 28 to 20-nanometer process allows for smaller components, which helps reduce power consumption and the die size.

The A8 is said to sport a quad-core 64-bit processor and quad-core graphics. By comparison, the A7 system-on-a-chip runs quad core graphics and a dual-core CPU. The report goes on to note that Taipei-based website TechNews asserted that TSMC will now become the sole manufacturer of the A8 chips.

The Wall Street Journal said last June that the iPhone maker had signed an iOS device chip deal with TSMC, decreasing its reliance on Samsung. The Galaxy maker is believed to have dropped out due to low yields.

Apple in years past has purchased several fabless semiconductor makers, a crucial move that has led the firm to design the A-series chips in-house and contract out chip manufacture to Samsung.