Rumor: Taiwanese companies land Apple A8 packaging orders

iPad Air promo (A7 closeup 001)

An Apple-designed mobile processor for this year’s iPads and iPhones will be probably labeled ’A8‘ and supply chain rumors have asserted that the world’s top independent semiconductor foundry, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), will share orders with Samsung, whose multi-billion dollar Austin, Texas plant used to exclusively churn out Apple’s A-series chips.

Like the A7, the A8 is said to use package-on-package design which combines the CPU part and mobile DRAM in a single package for increased performance and optimized power consumption…

According to a Monday report out of Taiwan via DigiTimes, Apple has commissioned three Taiwanese partners that will share packaging orders for the A8, Amkor Technology, STATS ChipPAC and Advanced Semiconductor Engineering.

Industry sources report that Amkor Technology and STATS ChipPAC will be responsible for as much as 40 percent of the total packaging orders each, with the remaining 20 percent apparently taken over by ASE.

The report goes on to note that TSMC in addition to landing foundry orders has also secured wafer bumping orders for the A8. The foundry is thought to start ramping up A8 production using its 20-nanometer process technology in the second quarter of 2014.

If true, this is another indication that new iPhone and iPad models shouldn’t be expected until Fall 2014. DigiTimes last June claimed Apple had contracted out A8 manufacture to TSMC after finalizing chip designs in March 2013.

TSMC is allegedly expected to account for the bulk of A8 output, with Samsung responsible for only one-third of A8 orders, according to The Korea Economic Daily report from September.

TSMC currently builds Touch ID sensors and is expected not only to continue making Touch IDs for the next iPhone, but also package the sensors this time around rather than commission other firms to handle the packaging process.

The current 64-bit A7 chip found in the iPhone 5s, iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display is being built on Samsung’s 28-nanometer Hi K metal Gate process technology, as is Samsung’s own Galaxy S4 Exynos processor.