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.
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.
Citing sources familiar with the situation, DigiTimes said an iPad powered by the A8X is expected to be released in early 2015. The chip should be manufactured on TSMC’s 20-nanometer process technology, just like its A8 counterpart.
However, due to the A8X’s larger size yield rates may be low, meaning the iPad Pro availability could be severely limited at launch.
TSMC (along with Samsung) is currently churning out A8 chips for the new iPhones. Interestingly enough, DigiTimes notes that TSMC is building a bunch of peripheral chips for the new iPhones, including Dialog’s power management ICs, Qualcomm’s 4G baseband chips, Synaptics’ LCD driver ICs, InvenSense’s six-axis gyroscopes and AhthenTec’s fingerprint sensors.
Apple is holding a media event this Thursday, with pundits and reliable analysts alike expecting introductions of the second-generation iPad Air and an improved iPad mini with Retina display, but not the elusive iPad Pro.