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Monday, March 10, 2014, 06:28 am PT (09:28 am ET)

Apple to stick with Samsung for A8 chip, final manufacturing prep underway - report

Contrary to recent rumors, Samsung has won the contract to produce Apple's next-generation A-series processor and will do so at the same Texas facility that churns out the 64-bit A7 at the heart of the iPhone 5s and iPad Air, according to a new report from South Korea.

Samsung

Samsung's Austin, Texas semiconductor plant


An unnamed Samsung official told ZDNet Korea that a manufacturing agreement has already been signed and that engineers from both companies are working together to ramp up production. Shipments of the so-called "A8" will reportedly begin this fall, around the same time that many expect Apple to unveil new models of its mobile devices.

Apple's relationship with Samsung has been strained in recent years as the two companies are increasingly at each other's throat both in stores and in the courtroom. Samsung's position as the contract foundry for Apple's closely-guarded A-series processors, arguably the most important component in the company's top-selling iOS devices, is believed to be especially tenuous.

Taipei, Taiwan-based foundry TSMC — which already makes other, less high-profile chips for Apple — has been repeatedly tabbed as Samsung's successor for A-series chip production. As recently as last week, reports suggested that TSMC had taken over "most" of the orders for the A8, leaving Samsung as a secondary supplier.

This would not be the first time TSMC has been linked to Apple's flagship silicon, only to have Samsung retain the contract. Rumors pointed in TSMC's direction for both the A6X and A7 processors, and each of those chips eventually rolled off of Samsung's Austin, Texas production line.