WSJ: Apple signs iOS device chip deal with TSMC, decreasing dependence on Samsung

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Following up a scoop from DigiTimes earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal is reporting this afternoon that Apple has finally inked a deal with TSMC, or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., to produce chips used in the company’s iPhone and iPad products.

The two sides reportedly signed the deal, which has been in the making for a few years now, earlier this month after TSMC met Apple’s requirements for speed and power usage. And it signifies yet another move by the Cupertino firm to distance itself from Samsung…

Here’s The Journal’s Jessica Lessin:

“As early as 2010, Apple and TSMC started discussing working together to build the chips, say the TSMC executives. In 2011, TSMC senior executive Chiang Shang-yi met Apple officials to discuss collaborating on the complex process. Apple asked to invest in TSMC, or to have TSMC set aside factory space dedicated to Apple chips, the executives say. TSMC Chairman Morris Chang rejected both requests because the company wanted to maintain its independence and manufacturing flexibility, the executives say. TSMC plans to start mass-producing the chips early next year using advanced “20-nanometer” technology, which makes the chips potentially smaller and more energy-efficient.”

The move comes amidst increasing litigation and competition between Apple and Samsung. The two are currently involved in courtroom battles in 10 different countries, and Samsung’s line of Galaxy phones have taken over Android with record-breaking sales figures.

Apple has been slowly moving its orders for numerous components away from the South Korean giant over the past year, including mobile display panels. A report surfaced last November claiming that the iPad-maker had moved a bulk of its panel business to LG Display.

Of course, even with this new TSMC deal, Apple will continue to rely on Samsung for chips as it likes to diversify its suppliers to avoid bottlenecking issues. And it’s unknown when we’ll start seeing the first iOS devices with TSMC chips, but it sounds like it’ll be next year.