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'Top secret' plans for upstate New York chip factory may involve Apple

New York state economic development officials have reportedly been pitched plans for a 3.2-million-square-foot chip manufacturing factory that could produce components for Apple's iPhone and iPad.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo "seemed to acknowledge" in a radio interview this week that Apple is involved with the "top-secret plan," according to a report by the Albany Times Union. Cuomo was asked on AM 1300 by host Fred Dicker whether recent speculation about Apple's involvement is true.

"We're shopping a lot of different companies at any given time," Cuomo said. "Apple has a lot of competition, obviously, for their location. I don't think they're anywhere yet in the decision-making."

According to the Times Union, the company behind the secretive project is "likely a major Apple supplier." It's believed that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. could be involved in the discussions.

All of Apple's iDevice chips to date have been manufactured by Samsung in Austin, Tex.

That aligns with persistent reports identifying TSMC as a likely partner for Apple in producing custom ARM chips for the iPhone and iPad. Apple is believed to be looking to move its chip production away from its current partner, Samsung, which makes all of the mobile processors for the iPhone and iPad.

The rumored potential upstate New York location would also indicate that Apple may be looking to keep its mobile chip production inside the U.S. Samsung currently produces Apple's custom ARM chips in Austin, Tex.

The secret Apple customer eyeing upstate New York has reportedly been scouting sites such as the Luther Forest Technology Campus in the city of Malta, as well as Marcy NanoCenter in Oneida County.

Earlier this year, AppleInsider offered an in-depth look into how some of Apple's key component suppliers have begun increasing their U.S.-based production. While Apple is secretive about who supplies specific components for its devices, the trend could indicate that more of the iPhone is already made in America than some people believe.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook personally visited a Foxconn factory in China earlier this year.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook revealed last week that his company plans to bring production of an entire line of existing Macs to the U.S. in 2013, and that his company is spending $100 million to do so. He also indicated at the All Things D conference in May that he would like it if products like the iPhone were made entirely in America.

"There's an intense focus on the final assembly," Cook said. "Could that be done in the U.S.? I sure hope so."