Samsung could re-enter iPhone chip supply chain in 2018

Samsung Electronics has not been building Apple-designed mobile chips for iPhone and iPad for almost four years now, but the South Korean conglomerate is rumored to be sharing Apple orders with rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) from next year.

According to a report Tuesday in The Korea Herald, Samsung has invested in a new manufacturing facility for churning out chips fabricated on the more energy efficient seven-nanometer process technology solely for iPhone.

“Samsung plans to complete its own tests for the new chip-making machines soon and seek final approval from Apple for the chip production,” reads the report.

The company reportedly purchased extreme ultra violet lithography machines, the most advanced chip manufacturing equipment in the world, to use in iPhone chip production from 2018. Kwon Oh-hyun, one of Samsung’s three co-CEOs, apparently played a key role in securing the deal during his visit to Apple’s headquarters last month.

“The CEO could persuade Apple’s top brass taking advantage of their close ties on OLED,” said an industry source. Samsung, as you know, is also the sole supplier of OLED panels for the upcoming OLED-based iPhone model.

Rival TSMC also won a supply deal for next year’s iPhone and the reports said Samsung would share some parts of iPhone chip orders next year with TSMC.