Apple reportedly moves A6X chip production from Samsung to TSMC

iPad mini keynote (Phil Schiller, A6x slide 001)

According to a new report, Apple has tapped Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (or TSMC) to start manufacturing its A6X chip, which  it introduced in its 4th gen iPad, with trials expected to begin as early as this quarter.

The move has been a hot topic in the media for several months now, as it will help Apple further reduce its reliance on Samsung. Tensions continue to grow between the two companies, who are involved in patent suits around the globe…

France24 (via 9to5Mac) reports:

“Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co will soon start making microchips for Apple as the US tech giant reduces manufacturing contracts with its South Korean rival Samsung, reports said Wednesday.

The Taiwanese company has been contracted to manufacture the A6X chip, which drives Apple’s iPad4 tablet, with trial production set for the first quarter of this year, Taiwan’s Commercial Times reported.”

For those who came in late, TSMC is the world’s largest independent semiconductor foundry and Apple has been rumored to be moving its chip business to them for a while — particularly for its high-power, low-energy 20nm quad-core processors.

In fact, the two companies have even been rumored to be behind the mysterious $10 billion, 3.2 million square-foot production facility known by the codename “Project Azalea,” that’s expected to be built in either New York or Oregon next year.

Of course, Apple could just be looking to diversify its chip suppliers to help meet demand as it begins to shake up its iOS device releases. But given the rate its relationship with Samsung is deteriorating, we wouldn’t be surprised if it was an all-out switch.

Currently, Apple designs its Ax processors in-house and then has Samsung fab them in its Austin, Texas plant. But if this story holds true, and the trial production goes well with TSMC, Samsung could end up losing that business worth billions of dollars.