Qualcomm could buy NXP, which supplies iPhones with NFC and motion-tracking chips

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 21, 2016

Bloomberg’s Alex Sherman and Ian King reported yesterday that fabless chip designer and Apple supplier Qualcomm could be buying NXP Semiconductors, a global semiconductor and analog circuitry manufacturer headquartered in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

NXP employs approximately 45,000 people in more than 35 countries and provides chips that give Apple devices features like power-efficient motion tracking and NFC for Apple Pay. Read More


Apple hires COO and engineers from iPhone graphics provider Imagination Technologies

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 13, 2016

Combing through multiple LinkedIn profiles, MacRumors has discovered that Imagination Technologies COO John Metcalfe left the company in June along with a bunch of engineers and is now listed as a Senior Director at Apple, where he started in July. Imagination GPUs are found in Apple’s in-house designed mobile chips for iOS devices. Read More


TSMC to start mass producing 10nm chips nearly a year ahead of Intel

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 30, 2016

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), which builds Apple’s in-house designed A10 Fusion chip that powers the iPhone 7, has confirmed mass production of ten-nanometer chips for clients will kick off by year-end, beating Intel by almost a year in terms of high-performance silicon.

Chip maker Intel’s own ten-nanometer chips are due in second half of 2017. Read More


Apple has ramped up chip and component orders for Apple Watch Series 2

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 9, 2016

Apple appears confident that the new Apple Watch Series 2 will be twice as successful as the original model and has reportedly ramped up chip and component orders for the device, according to Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes that has solid sources in Asian supply chain. Read More


Intel could begin fabricating iPhone and iPad chips as early as 2018

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 26, 2016

Both in-house designed ‘A10’ and ‘A11’ chips for this year’s iPhone 7 and 2017 iPhones/iPads, respectively, are believed to be manufactured solely by Taiwan’s semiconductor foundry TSMC (sorry, Samsung).

According to Nikkei Asian Review, Intel is now perfectly poised to give TSMC a good run for its money in as little as two years because any Apple chips after the A10/A11 should be fabricated by Intel.

The recently signed licensing deal between Intel and UK-based ARM Holdings lets the former fabricate chips for smartphones based on the latter’s CPU technology. Read More


TSMC to build Apple’s in-house designed AMOLED driver chips for 10th Anniversary iPhone

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 17, 2016

TSMC is believed to have secured orders for an Apple-designed ‘A11’ system-on-a-chip expected to power so-called Tenth Anniversary iPhone and new iPads in 2017, trade publication DigiTimes reports. The chip should be fabricated on TSMC’s ten-nanometer process technology and use its backend integrated fan-out (InFO) wafer-level packaging technology. Additionally, TSMC should build Apple-designed circuitry to drive 2017 iPhone’s AMOLED panel. Read More


Deal with ARM would theoretically let Intel build 10nm iPhone and iPad chips

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 16, 2016

Chip giant Intel announced today at its Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco an important deal with UK-based fabless semiconductor maker ARM Holdings that will permit other foundries to build chips based on ARM’s most advanced Cortex-series CPU cores using Intel’s sophisticated ten-nanometer process technology.

Given that Apple’s in-house designed A-series chips include fully customized 64-bit CPU cores based on ARM technology, the announcement expands Apple’s options by letting its contract silicon manufacturers such as Samsung and TSMC fabricate iPhone and iPad chips using Intel’s foundry services. Read More


Intel unveils new Kaby Lake chips, VR headset for merged reality, drone platform & more

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 16, 2016

At Intel Developer Forum today, chip giant Intel announced a seventh-generation Core processors, code-named Kaby Lake, along with a new drone platform, an exciting open-source virtual reality project and a bunch of other goodies.

During an opening keynote presentation, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said the new Kaby Lake chips, due later this year, will let users stream movies in 4K resolution with smooth playback and long battery life.

The company did not say when a low-power edition of the latest Kaby Lake chips suitable for use in Mac notebooks and iMacs might become available to vendors. Read More


DigiTimes: TSMC to build 16nm Apple Watch 2 chip

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 10, 2016

An Apple-designed ‘S2’ system-in-package that will power a second-generation Apple Watch won’t be produced by Samsung, like the original Apple Watch’s S1 chip. According to a new report by Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes, semiconductor foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has managed to beat Samsung in securing S2 orders. In fact, both the second-generation Apple Watch and an enhanced version of the original Apple Watch will be driven by the S2 chip, built using TSMC’s 16-nanometer process technology. Read More


Is this our first glimpse at iPhone 7 motherboard?

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 8, 2016

The same source that posted images allegedly showing a claimed iPhone 7 chassis alongside a bunch of SIM trays in Apple Watch-like Space Black finish has now re-published a new photo that seems to picture iPhone 7 logic boards, obtained from Ming Technology on Weibo. Prolific leakster Steve Hemmerstoffer also posted his own iPhone 7 motherboard images. Read More


TSMC reportedly wins exclusive contract to build A11 chips for 2017 iPhones and iPads

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 19, 2016

Citing a story in the Chinese-language Economic Daily News newspaper, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes reported yesterday that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will be the sole supplier of an Apple-designed ‘A11’ chip, which should power 2017 iPhone and iPad models.

In other words, Samsung could be on the outs for the next two generations of iPhone processors as both this year’s A10 and next year’s A11 are now said to be exclusively manufactured by TSMC. The A11 chip will be built on the foundry’s cutting-edge ten-nanometer FinFET process. Read More


Early CPU scores suggest modest gains for iPhone 7’s A10 chip vs. iPad Pro’s A9X

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 14, 2016

Early Geekbench 3 benchmark of the Apple-designed A10 system-on-a-chip—which will be the next iPhone and iPad’s engine—was posted Thursday by Dutch blog TechTastic.nl. Purported scores suggest the device may not be much speedier than the iPhone 6s and iPad Pro. The upcoming chip scored a tad more than last year’s A9 powering the iPhone 6s series and a little bit faster than the A9X in the iPad Pro.

On the other hand, the benchmarked A10 is almost certainly a prototype unit so final scores should be higher than is currently the case. Read More


TSMC’s Q3 revenue expected to climb to a record high on strong iPhone 7 A10 chip orders

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 11, 2016

Citing market forecasts quoted by the Commercial Times newspaper, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes reported Monday that shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC) could hit record levels thanks to orders for the Apple-designed ‘A10’ system-on-a-chip, the engine that will drive the next iPhone and iPad. TSMC just posted strong numbers for the second financial quarter. Read More


iPhone 7 ‘A10’ chip orders to help grow TSMC’s quarterly revenue by 20 percent

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 30, 2016

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s top semiconductor foundry which Apple has commissioned to build ‘A10’ processors for the next iPhone alongside Samsung, is expected to grow its revenue substantially in the third quarter of this year thanks to these orders.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency, quoted by trade publication DigiTimes, said this morning that TSMC is reportedly forecast to grow revenues almost twenty percent sequentially in its third quarter “as shipments for Apple’s A10 processors will kick off soon”. Read More


Bloomberg: Intel cellular modems will be reserved for AT&T iPhone 7 models

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 10, 2016

Supply chain whispers recently claimed that a significant portion of LTE cellular modems for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus would be built by Intel instead of Qualcomm and now Bloomberg is reporting that Intel modems will be actually reserved for AT&T iPhone 7 models.

Qualcomm is expected to remain Apple’s modem provider for Verizon and China-bound iPhone 7 handsets. Qualcomm’s boss had said he expected a major customer to diversify its supplier base. Read More


Intel shares details of next-gen Kaby Lake chips, Core i7 Extreme Edition and more

By Christian Zibreg on May 31, 2016

Intel today announced at the Computex 2016 show in Taiwan that its seventh-generation Core processors, code-named Kaby Lake, are slated to arrive later this year. It also shared details about an all-new ”Extreme” edition of the Core i7 chip for gamers and content creators, the Apollo Lake chips for tablets and hybrid devices such as all-in-ones, and more.

The company highlighted some of the advancements in performance, battery and media capabilities that the Kybe Lake platform provides. In a way, the announcement has paved the way for future Macs built around the Kybe Lake platform. Read More


iPhone chip maker TSMC to spend a massive $2.2 billion on R&D this year

By Christian Zibreg on May 26, 2016

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), the world’s largest independent chip foundry, has set aside a research and development budget for this year of a record-setting $2.2 billion in order to ensure its fabrication process technology stays ahead of competition, said a report this morning in Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes. In 2015, the firm spent just $1.067 billion on R&D. Read More


DigiTimes: Intel to supply at least half of iPhone 7’s faster LTE cellular modems

By Christian Zibreg on May 17, 2016

Rumors continue to swirl that Intel had been commissioned to build LTE modem chips for Apple’s upcoming smartphone refresh, a marquee win for the semiconductor giant.

Tuesday, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes reported that Intel may supply up to fifty percent of LTE modems for the forthcoming iPhone 7 models.

Although Intel itself will package the modems, the chips will be mass-produced by contract manufacturers TSMC and KYEC, as per DigiTimes, indicating that the iPhone 7’s ‘A10’ system-on-a-chip may integrate an Intel-built LTE modem. These Intel-designed LTE modems for the iPhone 7 are said to be faster than those in the iPhone 6s. Read More


Design of Apple’s ‘A11’ chip for 2017 iPhones and iPads has been finalized

By Christian Zibreg on May 6, 2016

Taiwanese component makers are currently scrambling to fulfill orders as the Cupertino firm is getting ready to kick off production of this year’s upcoming iPhones and iPads.

Moreover, Apple’s engineers should now be close to completing work on a 2017 iPhone and have certainly been developing a 2018 iPhone for some time now.

Trade publication DigiTimes wrote in a new report that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), a foundry that builds chips for Apple, has now taped out an Apple-designed ‘A11’ chip that will power 2017 iPhones and iPads. Read More


Qualcomm is “assuming” that Apple will give LTE modem orders for iPhone 7 to rival Intel

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 21, 2016

Shares of Qualcomm have dropped two percent after CEO Steve Mollenkopf told analysts on an earnings call Wednesday that it may lose some of its “biggest customers” as they are going with a “second source,” Bloomberg reported.

The fabless chip maker’s been Apple’s exclusive supplier of LTE modems for over three years now.

That’s about to change soon: Mollenkopf is now “assuming” that a major customer will give orders to a rival, indicating a potential loss of business for the company. Analysts said they think the customer is Apple and the rival is Intel. Read More

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