Taiwan's TSMC is set to become the exclusive manufacturer of an Apple "A10" processor for next-generation iPhones, cutting Samsung out of the loop, according to a new rumor.
Production will begin in March next year using a 16-nanometer process, the China Times claimed. The chip is said to use InFO (integrated fan out) architecture, offering advantages such as cutting costs and streamlining manufacturing.
It could also potentially allow Apple to switch to a system-in-package arrangement similar to the S1 in the Apple Watch. That might make the "A10" more efficient, and allow future iPhones to either shrink further or make room for other upgrades like bigger batteries.
The A9 processor in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus is reportedly being manufactured by both Samsung and TSMC. For several years Samsung was the exclusive maker of A-series chips at a factory in Austin, Tex., but sheer demand and/or Apple's desire to distance itself from Samsung may have led to TSMC entering the picture. TSMC is expected to keep producing A8 chips for devices like the Apple TV and iPad mini 4.
Apple has yet to even ship the 6s and 6s Plus, which are due on Sept. 25. The iPhone development process is typically long and drawn out however, and Apple needs to have parts ready well before assembly begins.
Next-generation iPhones — presumably an "iPhone 7" and "7 Plus" — aren't expected to ship until a year or more from now. Versions of the "A10" should also make their way into future iPads.