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


How to check if you have a Samsung or TSMC A9 processor inside of your iPhone 6s

By Jeff Benjamin on Sep 30, 2015

You’ve probably heard that Apple is using A9 processors from two different sources for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. One processor is from Samsung, and the other is from TSMC.

It’s been confirmed via benchmarks that both processors perform similarly with no major differences in performance. With that said, each processor features a different die size, which was first noted by Chipworks. The Samsung processor is the smaller of the two. Physically, it’s 96mm squared, while the TSMC A9 is 104.5 mm squared.

Chipworks conjectures that two different sources were used due to supply constraints. They also say that they are further researching both processors in an effort to gain better clarity.

Ultimately, it really doesn’t mean much to the end user, but I know that curiosity gets the best of us at times. If you’d like to check to see who sourced your A9 processor, you can follow these simple steps. 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


Apple reportedly commissions TSMC to exclusively build in-house designed ‘A10’ chips for ‘iPhone 7’

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 14, 2015

The iPhone 6s featuring Apple’s in-house designed ‘A9’ microchip is yet to start shipping but the firm’s already commissioned Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to build a next-generation ‘A10’ package expected to power 2016 iOS devices like an ‘iPhone 7,’ third-generation iPad Air and second-generation iPad Pro, according to supply chain chatter Monday. 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


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


iPhone 6s rumors: supplier hints at 7000 Series aluminum body, TSMC building A9 chips

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 11, 2015

A new rumor from Asia suggests that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), one of the world’s largest semiconductor foundries, is ready to kick off mass production of Apple’s in-house designed ‘A9’ mobile processor for the new iPhones, tentatively called an ‘iPhone 6s’ and ‘iPhone 6s Plus’.

At the same time, another rumor from Apple’s supply chain has reaffirmed that 2015 iPhones will have a chassis made from 7000 Series aluminum, a custom alloy the Cupertino firm originally developed for the Apple Watch Sport. Read More


TSMC establishing 10nm pilot line to build A10 chips for iPhone 7

By Christian Zibreg on May 26, 2015

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), the world’s largest dedicated independent semiconductor foundry, is apparently scheduled to finish its 10-nanometer pilot production line by the end of June, with Taiwanese media suggesting that the new facilities will churn out an Apple-designed ‘A10’ processor said to power an ‘iPhone 7’ and other iOS devices due in 2016. Read More


Samsung reportedly chosen by Apple to make chips for next iPhone

By Jake Smith on Apr 2, 2015

Bloomberg reports Samsung has been chosen by Apple to make chips for the next iPhone, taking the business from Taiwan Semiconductor.

Samsung has reclaimed its spot as Apple’s supplier. TSMC made the chips for the iPhone 6, however before that, Samsung’s chips were king for iPhones. Read More


Rumor: TSMC building iPhone 6s chips, $400-$500 iPhone 6c to become new entry-level model

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 26, 2015

TSMC, or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited, is expected to remain the major supplier of Apple’s in-house designed processors for the upcoming iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

In addition, the world’s largest independent semiconductor foundry is said to supply 20-nanomenter chips for an upcoming iPhone 6c model, expected to arrive as Apple’s new entry-level iPhone with a price tag between $400 and $500.

An Apple-designed system-on-a-chip for the next-generation iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models should be called the ‘A9’ and will be built on TSMC’s 16-nanometer FinFET process technology, industry sources told DigiTimes. Read More


Following record Q4, TSMC migrates to finer 10nm tech and allegedly picks up A9X orders in 2015

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 15, 2015

Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) on Thursday announced record profits in the fourth quarter of 2014 buoyed by its lucrative chip-making deal with Apple for the new iPhones.

In addition, the firm announced migrating to a much finer 10-nanometer process technology this year after being among the first to adopt 20-nanometer chip-making technology in 2014.

According to KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi-Kuo, TSMC would not only pick up 100 percent of orders for Apple’s “A9X” chip, which should be used in an iPad refresh this Fall, but also get to produce an “S2” processor for a second-generation Apple Watch and an “A10” chip that should power a 2016 iPhone model, likely to be called “iPhone 7”. Read More


iPhone’s monster December quarter brings huge earnings to Apple suppliers

By Jake Smith on Jan 12, 2015

Apple suppliers Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Foxconn’s Hon Hai Precision saw record monthly revenues in December thanks to the huge fourth-quarter Apple’s iPhone saw, regulatory filings with the Taiwan Stock Exchange revealed on Monday. Read More


Wait, TSMC to remain Apple’s key supplier for upcoming A9 chip – not Samsung

By Jake Smith on Dec 30, 2014

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will remain the major supplier for Apple’s upcoming 14-nanometre A9 processor, reports Taipei Times, contrary to previous reports.  Read More


Report: Apple chooses Samsung to supply 80 percent of A-Series mobile processors

By Jake Smith on Nov 17, 2014

Apple and Samsung have struck a major deal, in which Samsung Electronics will supply Apple with the majority of the application processors used in the iPhone and iPad, according to the Korea Times. Apple has reportedly chosen Samsung over TSMC, in a deal worth billions. Read More


TSMC reportedly lands contract to build A8X processor for iPad Pro

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 15, 2014

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s leading independent semiconductor foundry, has landed a contract to fabricate Apple’s upcoming A8X mobile processor, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes reported Wednesday.

The chip, which leaked on claimed photographs earlier this week, is said to feature faster graphics.

In addition to an improved GPU, it reportedly incorporates twice as much RAM as its A8 counterpart, which powers the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. As such, the A8X should power Apple’s rumored ‘iPad Pro’ tablet with an ultra high-resolution 12.9-inch screen. Read More


Apple to move from TSMC to Samsung for next-gen chip production

By Cody Lee on Jul 17, 2014

Last year, Apple reached an agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to make processors for its iOS devices. The deal was part of a larger effort by the iPad-maker to reduce its reliance on Samsung.

But the move may not last long. Citing supply chain sources and KGI Securities analyst Michael Liu, Reuters is reporting that Apple is looking to shift production of its 14-nanometer next-generation chips from TSMC to Samsung… Read More


TSMC reportedly ships first batch of Touch ID sensors for upcoming iPhones and iPads

By Christian Zibreg on May 7, 2014

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s top semiconductor foundry, has reportedly shipped the first batch of the second-generation Touch ID sensors to Apple for use in the upcoming second-generation iPad Air, third-generation iPad mini and of course iPhone 6.

As iDownloadBlog exclusively reported earlier this month, code fragments in iOS 7.1 indicate that Touch ID is coming to iPads, possibly this year and to other iOS devices as well, a discovery further corroborated by previous supply chain reportsRead More


TSMC exec says Apple leading move to 64-bit smartphone chips, hints A8 chip production

By Jake Smith on Apr 17, 2014

Apple is responsible for the mobile industry’s move to 64-bit processors within smartphones after it announced the iPhone 5s in September, according to Mark Liu, co-CEO of major chip company TSMC.

This is something many industry pundits have been whispering for sometime, so it’s interesting to hear from such a higher-up in the chip business. Liu, speaking at a TSMC quarterly results meeting, said it pretty bluntly… Read More


New report alleges Samsung will build iPhone 6’s A8 processor after all

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 10, 2014

Shortly after Taiwan’s Commercial Times ran a story about Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) seemingly having started production of an upcoming Apple-designed A8 chip on an exclusive basis (as Samsung reportedly dropped out of the race due to yield issues), an unnamed Samsung executive in a defensive PR move took to blogs to argue that the rumor is greatly exaggerated.

Pouring cold water on the Commercial Times report, the Galaxy maker told ZDNet Korea (via GforGames) that the conglomerate has already signed a contract with Apple concerning next-generation A8 chip production. Moreover, the firm is currently in the final testing phases and is gearing up to kick off mass A8 production at its Austin, Texas facility.

The multi-billion dollar chip plant is almost entirely dedicated to Apple silicon production. Samsung’s semiconductor arm has thus far churned out every iOS device processor since the original iPhone… Read More

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