How to check if you have TSMC or Samsung chip in your iPhone 6s

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 8, 2015

For the first time ever, Apple has dual-sourced the engine that drives the new handsets from more than one supplier. Both Samsung and rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) won contracts to build the Apple-designed ‘A9’ system-on-a-chip for the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

While these chips offer literally the same compute and graphics power, both synthetic benchmarks and real-life tests have shown small yet notable difference in terms of battery as the TSCM-built A9 appears to be more power efficient than its Samsung counterpart.

The question is, does your brand spanking new iPhone 6s have the TSMC or Samsung-built chip? You can find that out in just a few simple steps, let me show you how. Read More


Samsung-built A9 chip in iPhone 6s found to drain battery faster than TSMC one, Apple doesn’t really agree

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 8, 2015

Does your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus come outfitted with Samsung or TSMC-built A9 processor? The answer to that question could determine how long your device will run before its battery needs recharging.

Your key takeaway is this: while the dual-sourced chips perform identically in synthetic Geekbench tests in terms of sheer CPU compute power and GPU performance, there’s a marked difference in observed battery life ranging from six to eleven percent.

You could argue the difference is barely felt in day-to-day use, but I beg to differ: energy efficiency is paramount for mobile devices and the battery-friendlier the main processor is, the longer it will run on a single charge. Read More


Semiconductor analysis confirms iPhone 6s ‘A9’ chip manufactured by Samsung and TSMC

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2015

An initial analysis of the Apple-designed A9 system-on-a-chip powering the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, conducted by semiconductor experts over at Chipworks, has identified both Samsung and rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company as manufacturers of the package.

What’s really interesting is that the A9 comes in two sizes, depending on who manufactured it, with the Samsung-built units being a bit smaller than those manufactured by TSMC. This is the first time an Apple-designed processor for an iPhone came in two different sizes. Read More


Samsung about to copy iPhone Upgrade Program

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 21, 2015

As major U.S. carriers have been moving toward killing smartphone subsidy and long-term contracts, the true cost of the iPhone will become more visible than ever before.

That’s why Apple’s decided to let you choose a carrier and get an unlocked iPhone 6s/6s Plus with the opportunity to get a new iPhone annually and AppleCare+ on the new iPhone Upgrade Program.

Not to be outdone by Apple, Galaxy maker Samsung is now looking to bring out a smartphone leasing program of its own in the United States, reports Forbes. Read More


Samsung finds a new angle to attack iPhone: lack of customization

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 18, 2015

Say what you will, but there’s no denying that Samsung’s marketing department has more or less successfully exploited the iPhone’s perceived weaknesses in their anti-Apple ads.

As you know, ads for the Galaxy phones typically focus on stuff like the iPhone’s non-replaceable batteries, battery life in general, non-curved screens, lack of wireless charging and what not.

But the latest Samsung commercials appears to have found a new anti-iPhone angle: the lack of customization. Read More


Latest Apple appeals court win may require Samsung to change its devices

By Cody Lee on Sep 17, 2015

The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that Apple is entitled to an injunction that would bar Samsung from using its patented technology in its devices. The decision could force the Korean manufacturer to change certain features on its smartphones and tablets.

At the heart of the matter is 3 software features that Apple has patented: slide-to-unlock on a device’s touchscreen, the automatic correction of spelling errors, and quick-linking, which allows a user to do things like tap on a phone number within a body of text to place a call. Read More


Samsung and Sony take swipes at Apple’s ‘Hey Siri’ event announcements

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 10, 2015

Following Apple’s action-packed media event yesterday which saw introductions of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus smartphones with 3D Display technology, the new iPad Pro with Apple Pencil, the much improved Apple TV and more, both Sony and Samsung took to social media to poke fun of Apple’s latest innovation.

As you may have guessed, Samsung especially took swipes at Apple’s stylus, which isn’t surprising given Steve Jobs’ famous “If you see a stylus, they blew it” quote and the fact the Galaxy maker pioneered stylus-enhanced phablets with its Note lineup. Read More


The iPhone effect: Samsung laying off 10 percent of workforce at its headquarters

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 8, 2015

According to a report by Korean newspaper which was relayed Tuesday by Bloomberg, Samsung Electronics is about to lay off ten percent of workers at its headquarters in South Korea “as the world’s biggest smartphone maker loses sales to Apple and Chinese vendors.”

It is no secret that things have been tough for Samsung ever since Apple released its larger-screened iPhones. In addition, strong competition from China’s vendors like Huawei and Xiaomi, which build comparable phones that cost half as much as Samsung’s high-end devices, has contributed to Samsung’s diminishing sales in China. Read More


Rotating bezel on Samsung’s new Gear S2 smartwatch shown on video

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 3, 2015

Two days ago, Samsung officially unveiled its new smartwatch lineup: the Gear S2, Gear S2 classic and the Gear S2 with 3G connectivity.

The new lineup from Samsung appears to stack up surprisingly well against the Apple Watch: both smartwatches are premium built and feature easily changeable bands, sleek software, fitness and heart rate tracking and more.

But whereas the Apple Watch uses the Digital Crown for navigating its user interface, Samsung has opted for a rotating bezel that “gets better with every turn,” a feature seen on some traditional watches.

Coupled with “the revolutionary circular user interface,” as they’re calling the Gear S2’s Tizen operating system, the rotating bezel appears to be just as precise, novel and interesting as the Apple Watch’s rotating crown. Read More


Samsung unveils CarMode for Galaxy, new SmartThings hub, sleep-tracking device and more

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 3, 2015

IFA, the world’s leading trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances, is running from September 4 to 9 in Berlin. Ahead of the big event, Samsung Electronics has unveiled some rather interesting gadgets, including its own version of CarPlay, a sleep analysis accessory, its first 4K Blu-ray player and more.

More than anything, the company is betting big on so-called Internet of Things, a common moniker denoting software platforms powering smart devices that tap into the power of the cloud to achieve interoperability and rich data sharing.

To this extent, the South Korean giant last year purchased an open-platform smart home company, called SmartThings. Following the acquisition, SmartThings today unveiled its very first new product, a hub for the connected home that connects to cameras to monitor and protect your home. Read More


Samsung unveils Gear S2 smartwatch lineup with up to 3 days of battery life

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 1, 2015

After teasing its new Gear smartwatch ahead of Apple’s upcoming media event, South Korea-based Samsung last evening formally announced a second-generation Gear S family. The Galaxy Gear S2, as it’s called, augments the round display of its predecessor with a rotating bezel for navigating the user interface.

The internals have been refreshed, too, so the Gear S2 has NFC. While it has less storage space than the Apple Watch’s 8GB, the Gear S2 uses a stronger battery that Samsung claims runs up to three days on a single charge. Read More


Samsung now paying iPhone users $200 to switch

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 28, 2015

Samsung is offering some extra goodies to people interested in participating in its Ultimate Test Drive program which seeks to persuade iPhone users to test-drive the Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy Note5 or Galaxy S6 edge+ for 30 days in exchange for just one dollar.

Now the South Korean company is tempting would-be switchers with $100 of Google Play credit for buying apps, media and other content and an additional cheque for $100 if they traded in their iPhone to their carrier or retailer, as per AndroidCentral. Read More


Official: Samsung stole trade secrets from TSMC

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 26, 2015

Samsung lifted trade secrets from rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), the world’s #1 independent semiconductor foundry, Taiwan’s top court has ruled.

According to a report published Wednesday by Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes, the court has determined that Liang Mong-song, a former senior director of research and development at TSMC, revealed TSMC’s trade secrets and patents related to its advanced FinFET process technology to Samsung Electronics.

The report makes no mention of Apple, but the connection couldn’t be clearer: Samsung might have been able to leverage the stolen secrets to win orders for Apple’s next-generation ‘A9’ processor. Prior reports have posited that both Samsung and TSMC got to build Apple’s A9 chips on the advanced 14-nanometer FinFET process technology which uses entirely new three-dimensional transistors. Read More


Samsung to appeal to Supreme Court in Apple patent case

By Cody Lee on Aug 19, 2015

As expected, Samsung is taking its patent battle with Apple to the United States Supreme Court. The San Jose Mercury News points to a new court filing from the company, which voices its intent to ask the Supreme Court to hear its case.

In 2012, Samsung was found guilty of infringing on multiple Apple patents and was ordered to pay Apple more than $1 billion in damages. That amount has since been cut in half, but Samsung is hoping to get the sum further reduced. Read More


Court denies Samsung’s latest appeal request in ongoing patent case

By Cody Lee on Aug 13, 2015

The US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday denied Samsung’s request to reconsider the court’s decision to uphold damages awarded in its patent infringement case, reports the San Jose Mercury News. The damages amount to more than $400 million.

This is just the latest turn in what seems to be a never-ending patent case between Samsung and Apple. In 2012, a jury found Samsung guilty of infringing on Apple’s patents and awarded the iPhone maker $1 billion in damages, which has since been cut in half. Read More


Samsung unveils Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5 as new iPhones loom on the horizon

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 13, 2015

Samsung held its Unpacked 2015 media event this morning, a few weeks earlier than usual as the firm looks to steal Apple’s thunder. Predictably, they unveiled two new devices: an even larger-screened Galaxy S6 with a curved screen, officially called Galaxy S6 edge+, and a fifth-generation Note phablet marketed as the Galaxy Note5.

Both devices run Android 5.1.

In addition, the South Korean conglomerate said Samsung Pay, its own mobile payment service, will go head-to-head with Apple Pay this September. Read More


Struggling to return strong profits, Samsung slashes price of Galaxy S6 phones

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 3, 2015

After posting another disappointing quarterly earnings, a fifth straight profit drop, Apple’s chief rival Samsung has now slashed the retail price of Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge flagship smartphones by a hundred euro, or about $110, BetaNews learned.

The consumer electronics giant’s mobile division suffered a 37.6 percent drop in operating income during the April-June period after badly miscalculating demand for the higher-priced Galaxy S6 Edge, leaving it with unsold inventory of the regular Galaxy S6 devices. Read More


Samsung’s woes continue with yet another disappointing quarterly earnings

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 30, 2015

Surging iPhone demand on the high-end and plummeting sales of its feature phones that are getting squeezed out of the market by Chinese upstarts like Xiaomi are largely blamed for yet another disappointing quarterly earnings that Samsung posted Thursday.

The South Korean conglomerate reported an eight percent annual decline as profits decreased to 5.75 trillion Korean won, or approximately $4.9 billion, from 6.3 trillion won a year earlier. Analysts predicted 5.6 trillion won of net income. The results mark a fifth straight drop in quarterly earnings for the consumer electronics giant.

The bad news gets worse as Samsung’s mobile division, its bread and butter, reported a huge 37.6 percent drop in mobile operating income which fell from 4.42 trillion won in 2014 to 2.76 trillion won during the April-June period. Read More


Samsung takes on Apple’s iPad Air 2 with ultra-slim Galaxy Tab S2

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 20, 2015

Samsung on Monday announced a next-generation Galaxy tablet to take on Apple’s iPad Air 2. The Galaxy Tab S2, driven by Android 5.0 Lollipop, is even thinner than Apple’s device: it measures an impressive 5.6mm thin and includes Samsung’s exceptionally bright and vivid Super AMOLED display in 7.9 and eight-inch flavors.

Regardless of the screen size, the new Tab S matches the resolution of full-size iPads at 2,048-by-1,536 pixels though last year’s Tab S came outfitted with a sharper 2,560-by-1,600 pixel resolution displays. Read More


Volume production of Apple’s next-generation ‘A9’ processor for new iPhones has kicked off

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 16, 2015

Volume production of an Apple-designed next-generation “A9” chip, the engine that will power the next iPhone and iPad, has begun at facilities operated by Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s largest independent semiconductor foundry.

According to a report published Friday by DigiTimes, a semi-accurate Taiwanese trade publication, the two rivals get to share orders and both have now started volume production of the chips.

Supply chain sources interviewed by The Wall Street Journal estimate Apple’s ordered a record 80 million units of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus units by the end of 2015. Read More

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