Rumor: Samsung starts building A9 chips for 2015 iPhones and iPads

Apple A9 (mockup 002)

According to an article published by Korea’s ETNews on Friday, Samsung has now begun building the ‘A9’ processors after rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) reportedly built the majority of A8 chips for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2 devices.

The A9 system-on-a-chip is expected to make its debut in the next year’s iPhones and iPads, including the expected iPhone 6s, an S-upgrade to the existing iPhone 6 lineup.

Citing industry insiders, the article notes that Samsung began building A9 chips on its 14-nanometer FinFET technology this week. The chips are reportedly being built at Samsung’s multi-billion dollar foundry in Austin, Texas.

Although the South Korean conglomerate operates production lines capable of FinFET process production in Giheung, Korea, it’s decided to produce the A9 only in Austin “as it is in the initial stage.”

Meanwhile, TSMC’s own 16nm FinFET plus process went online in July.

Both the A8 driving the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and a faster A8X variant powering the iPad 2 are manufactured on TSMC’s 20nm process.TSMC has replaced Samsung as the manufacturer of Apple’s mobile device processors because the South Korean firm is thought to be responsible only for 40 percent of the current A8/A8X output.

Going from the current 20nm process to the latest cutting-edge 14nm FinFET technology will yield an even smaller die size while lowering power consumption further and increasing performance due to reduced heat dissipation and the electrons traveling shorter distance.

If history is an indication, Apple will again split latest chip orders between Samsung and TSMC to reduce its exposure to any single semiconductor supplier.