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Friday, August 26, 2011, 06:12 am PT (09:12 am ET)

Apple lining up A6 CPU suppliers for 2012 iPad, iPhone

Apple is said to be already meeting with chip suppliers as it looks toward production of its next-generation "A6" mobile processor in 2012.

The iPhone maker is said to have recently visited packaging and testing firm Siliconware Precision Industries, or SPIL, according to DigiTimes. After viewing the company's assembly line, officials from Apple reportedly discussed "opportunities for cooperation," sources allegedly said.

The report indicated that SPIL is now "likely to snatch outsourcing orders" for the A6 processor, expected to debut next year.

"SPIL stands a chance of becoming the first packaging and testing service provider designated by Apple, cutting into the supply chain of the vendor's processor line, the sources said. SPIL has responded by denying the speculation."

Friday's report said the upcoming A6 is likely to be a quad-core design. Previous reports have indicated the chip will incorporate TSMC's 28-nanometer process and 3D stacking technology.

Just a few weeks ago, Apple was said to have begun trial production of its next-generation A6 processor. The ARM-based CPU is expected to go into mass production in the second quarter of 2012, likely for use in a third-generation iPad.

Chipworks 1


Trial production of the A6 is allegedly being handled by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. Numerous reports have indicated that Apple is looking to move away from its rival Samsung, which has handled orders for the A4 processor found in the iPhone 4, and the A5 CPU used in the iPad 2.

Though Samsung was originally the exclusive provider of custom ARM-based chips to Apple, the company is now believed to be utilizing foundry services from TSMC. Samsung remains a major supplier of components to Apple, but the two companies are engaged in a bitter legal dispute where each has accused the other of patent infringement.