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Apple May Move iPhone 5 Followup SoC Away From Samsung

Apple's long term partnership with Samsung may be slowly disintegrating as both former partners are increasingly delivering products - like the Galaxy Tab and the iPad 2 - that compete with each other making the relationship quite uneasy.

Arstechnica mentions (opens in new tab) a "plugged-in source" who confirmed that Apple is indeed considering a TSMC partnership rather than an Intel one, with the Taiwanese foundry providing Apple with its best manufacturing plants yet, the 28nm ones, that may well deliver their first 3D chips by the end of the year.

Samsung produced the system on chip for the iPad, the iPhone 4, the Apple TV, the iPod Touch and a number of other Apple devices as well (ed: indeed, Samsung may well be Apple's biggest provider of semiconductors).

The relationship between Apple and Samsung has become very bitter after Apple launched a legal assault against Samsung, accusing the Korean manufacturer of allegedly copying the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad for its Galaxy range of smartphones and tablets.

In order to match rival system-on-chips that are expected to come towards the end of 2011, Apple is likely to double the number of cores on the A6 to four while keeping the clock speed constant.

Moving to the 28nm 2D manufacturing process and then to a 22nm 3D one may provide Apple with an unassailable advantage over its competitors, especially if Apple buys long term manufacturing capacity from TSMC in bulk.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.