Apple has begun a test partnership with chipmaker TSMC to manufacture the next generation of Apple’s mobile chips, Reuters reports. TSMC is doing a trial run of making the next version of Apple’s mobile chips. If Apple likes what it sees, it will put in an order.
Right now Apple relies on Samsung to produce the A5 chip, but it wants to diversify its manufacturing partners.
While they are separate divisions within Samsung, there’s some strain on the relationship between the companies.
Seo Won-seok, an analyst with NH Investment and Securities tells Reuters Apple can’t just drop Samsung, though: “It won’t be easy for Apple to dramatically change its chip provider from Samsung … It has to redesign the chipset, which Samsung has been deeply involved from the beginning and has some intellectual property. Apple could try various suppliers but they (Samsung and Apple) need each other and the relationship will continue.”
Even if it can’t just ditch Samsung entirely, Apple doesn’t want to be reliant on just one company for its mobile chip production. This is the future of Apple’s business, so we would imagine it wants to be able to produce as many chips as possible, and have some leverage for getting the best pricing it can by playing the two companies off each other.