Apple has reportedly signed an agreement with Samsung that will see the Korean tech giant supply future A-series chips for iOS devices. Sources say Samsung will be responsible for providing A9 chips using their new 14-nanometer manufacturing process which will (in theory) have double the efficiency as existing 28-nanometer chips that Samsung is sourcing to Apple.
The deal was possibly signed in May and would see Apple commit to Samsung for a period of three years which is the industry norm. The chips, which use a 3D design to reduce leakage and maintain power and reliability, will be supplied starting in 2015 and are expected to show up in Apple’s iPhone 7.
Samsung has been supplying Apple with application processors since 2007 when the first iPhone was launched. As tension between the two companies grew, however, Apple elected to diversify and take their business elsewhere. The reason for this was to not become too dependent on one supplier and as such, Apple signed a deal with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to build chips for devices expected to arrive in 2014.
It’s unclear at this time whether or not the new deal with Samsung will be in addition to the work that TSMC is doing for Apple or if Cupertino plans to back out of the TSMC deal and have Samsung make all of their chips exclusively. Once again relying solely on Samsung would seem counterproductive given the fact that they wanted to reduce reliance on Samsung in the first palce.