Will Apple Drop Samsung for A6 Production in 2012?

After a number of recent squabbles with Samsung, it seems Apple may be looking to distance itself from the company and move production of its ‘A6’ ARM processor to another chipmaker.

In a report published today, Ars Technica cites “numerous sources in the semiconductor industry” who claim Apple is likely to approach Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company to build the next-generation of its mobile processor in 2012 as the company aims to step away from its current partnerships with Samsung…

It seems likely that Apple is making the change to cut some, if not all, Samsung-made components out of its supply chain.

This isn’t the first time that a potential Apple partnership with TSMC has been big news; on Friday China’s Commercial Times also claimed that the company would step in for Samsung to manufacture the A6 chip next year.

Samsung has built Apple’s ARM processors since the first A4 chip launched in the iPad back in 2009, but following a massive legal dispute with Apple over Samsung’s alleged replication of the iPhone’s look and design, the two companies may not be as friendly towards one another as they once were. The current A5 chip is built on a 45nm process, but it is rumored that Apple and TSMC will build the A6 on a 28nm process.

Apple is currently Samsung’s largest customer, with the success of the iPhone and the iPad making Apple’s expected spend on Samsung components $7.8 billion this year. Maybe it would have been better for Samsung to agree with Apple and settle that famous lawsuit on day one, rather than countersuing its biggest customer?