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Samsung reportedly nabs 75% of Apple's next-gen 'A9' SoC orders

Samsung has won a huge percentage of orders for the production of Apple's next-generation "A9" system-on-a-chip, variations of which are expected to power this year's iOS device lineup, according to a new report.



Citing industry sources, South Korean publication Maeil Business Newspaper reported on Sunday that Samsung's Austin, Texas fab is responsible for a 75 percent slice of orders for Apple's upcoming SoC, presumably dubbed "A9" if the company's A-series naming convention is followed.

Apple is looking to use Samsung's advanced 14-nanometer FinFET fabrication process, sources said, mirroring a report from October that claimed the South Korean tech giant won only 40 percent of A9 orders.

Prior to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Samsung was responsible for fabricating all A-series silicon, but that position changed when Apple tapped Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to handle a portion of A8 production. As demand for iPhones and iPads increases, Apple has slowly diversified its supply chain to cope with unexpected slowdowns like low yield rates on cutting edge technology.

Although final distribution numbers have not been revealed, TSMC is definitely part of Apple's SoC supply chain. Shortly after the latest iPhones hit store shelves in September, a teardown and chip analysis revealed an A8 processor built on TSMC's 20nm CMOS process.

The real winner of Apple's lucrative silicon contract for 2015 remains unclear, however, as reports vary depending on the source. For example, industry observers said last month that TSMC will use a new 16nm FinFET process to handle a majority of A9 manufacturing, disagreeing with a November report that claimed Samsung has the upper hand.