Saturday, 20 December 2014


Samsung and Apple team up on 14nm FinFET:

A new report from Korea IT states that Samsung began manufacturing A9 processor, the next generation ARM-based CPU for Apple's iPhone and iPad which would fit an introduction time line for later next year.

Samsung had previously given guidance that it expected to begin 14nm production in the near future, but hadn’t specified whether or not it would win back Apple’s business.

This processor uses 14nm FinFET manufacturing, a cutting-edge design for semiconductors that many other manufacturers, including AMD, IBM and TSMC, are adopting. It uses a new silicon substrate to reduce leakages, which means less power lost and less heat.

Because of the legal issues between Apple and Samsung, Apple stopped manufacturing its chips with Samsung in 2012 and took its business to TSMC. TSMC is said to be a little bit behind Samsung in FinFET manufacturing, and perhaps cooler heads have prevailed at the two companies and they made up.

That doesn't mean TSMC will let Apple walk. Apple may have both TSMC and Samsung make its chips, which would be like dating two people at the same time. That never ends well.

The real question is why is Apple starting chip manufacturing so soon? The iPhone 6 has only been on the market a few months, and chip production for its successor has started already? There haven't been any rumours on the A9 since the A8 is so new.

The only thing I can think of is that Apple wants to work the bugs out of the manufacturing process, since FinFET is so new. New manufacturing processes usually mean really low yields in the beginning until the chip maker gets it right, and since FinFET is so new, Apple and Samsung may have wanted to get a jump on things.

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