In a recent earnings call, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) CEO said that their new 20 nanomater process tech will outsell the existing 28 nanomater tech in two years.CEO Morris Chang went on to explain, “Enough discussions have taken plae, with enough customers who have large requirements (on 20nm), to lead us to believe that the volume will be very large.” He doesn’t specify Apple, but given current market conditions and the industry positioning going on, there’s very few other possible companies.
TSMC also makes chips for Qualcomm, Nvidia and other tech giants, always to order, but recent rumors have been going around saying Apple is going to drop its rival Samsung as their chip supplier in favor of TSMC. TSMC, in turn, is investing $9 billion this year as it moves towards 20nm processors and later 16nm processors.
The New York Times reported an interesting take on why Apple would move to TSMC over Samsung.
The added incentive is, TSMC solely makes chips by contract, and probably will never compete with Apple in finished consumer electronics as Samsung has.
This is the reason that companies such as Nvidia and AMD, which actually compete against each other in PCs, both go to TSMC (to make their chips),” Patrick Liao, an analyst at Nomura Securities, said. “They never worry about technology theft.
Other companies in 2012 have oversubscribed to the TSMC 28 nanomater tech, so Apple could come out of this as the big winner and a priority and primary customer in 2014 with the newer 20 nanomater tech. This syncs up nicely with a report oufrom China last October saying TSMC will start on iPhone and iPad chip manufacturing beginning in 2014.