Apple’s 2019 iPhone may run A13 chips made by Samsung

iPhone X Yellow

Samsung and Apple might be enemies publicly, but the pair has to work together in private. The South Korean company already has a monopoly on the iPhone’s OLED displays and it’s now eyeing the handset’s A13 processor.

Once upon a time, Samsung used to be the only manufacturer of Apple’s A-series chips. The latter eventually shifted to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) because of competition and legal battles. TSMC now enjoys an exclusive contract with Apple, but the iPhone maker historically likes to divide up its orders so it can control prices better.

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This is where Samsung could make its re-entry. DigiTimes reports that the brand is hard at work trying to develop InFO (integrated fan-out) packaging technology. TSMC’s InFo tech has already cleared Apple’s verification, meaning it will be a part of this year’s A12 SoCs.

TSMC touts that the InFo system cuts down on the thickness of chip packaging, boosts processor speed, and improves power dissipation. Meanwhile, Samsung has another ace up its sleeve. It claims that it’s ahead of TSMC in making chipsets using 7-nanometer extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV).

EUV is a very advanced method of printing the circuitry of a processor, but is complex to execute. For instance, it can only be made in a vacuum because all matter absorbs EUV radiation. TSMC is reportedly struggling with the technology and may not even incorporate it until 5-nanometer chips arrive.

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Samsung is attempting to attract customers like Apple, Qualcomm, and Nvidia by offering a 20% discount, but the companies supposedly aren’t biting because of the risks involved in terms of quality and yield. The South Korean major may just focus its initial 7nm EUV production for its own Galaxy S10.

Apple is reportedly trying to move away from Samsung for the iPhone’s OLED displays. It has roped LG into the mix, but the firm isn’t up to the mark yet. It would be surprising if Apple decided to go back to Samsung for its chips, so we’ll just have to wait and see what it decides.