A9 Chip Mass Production Starts in June at TSMC – 16nm FinFet Prevails?
TSMC is reportedly going to start the production of Apple's A9 chip for next-gen iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus this month after a trial run. Samsung and TSMC were fighting for the spot to take the lead to manufacture chips for 2015 Apple products but seems like Taiwan-based TSMC has won the battle like last year.
TSMC to be exclusive A9 chip maker?
Earlier reports and industry analysis had indicated that TSMC, at best, will only be able to manage 30% of A9 chip production business with Samsung getting the lion's share. However, both the companies underwent a trial production where TSMC managed to give higher yield and lower production costs as compared to Samsung.
TSMC was responsible for 100% of the SoCs fitted in last year's iPhone variants. This year, Samsung was highly expected to close the deal with Apple thanks to its increasing popularity as a chip maker after 14nm FinFet Exynos' successful debut in Galaxy S6 duo. KGI Securities had also commented that Samsung will get the major share thanks to its 14nm chip manufacturing process.
However, trial run revealed that there was no major performance or cost difference in the chips produced using 16nm process by TSMC and by Samsung's 14nm produced SoC. We also shared some insider details back in March that revealed that TSMC has a faster production rate than Samsung which was causing Apple to lean toward TSMC to not risk any production delays.
"...TSMC is capable of a higher, and apparently less expensive yield, Apple could rely more, or entirely on the Taiwanese chipmaker and less on Samsung." - G for Games
Apparently, having won the race, TSMC will now start mass producing A9 chip for Apple starting this month. This will make things ready in time for assembling the iPhone 6s units for their September launch. Report doesn't mention if TSMC will be sole provider of A9 processors or if Samsung is getting some share too.