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Rumour: Samsung to supply Apple A6 despite patent war

The public spat between Apple and Samsung continues to rage on, with both sides claiming victories and continuing to fire shots at each other. Despite the war of press releases and patents, a new report suggests Samsung will still go ahead with supplying A6 chips to Apple.

According to the Korea Times, industry insiders claim that despite previous speculation Apple will move away from Samsung to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC), the manufacturing processes at TSMC have not stablized enough for Apple to justify taking any risks moving away from an existing supplier that has reliably delivered chips for its mobile devices. As two sources state:

Apple has been in talks with Samsung over shipment of its A6 quad-core mobile processor (AP) chips to be used in the next iPhone. It appears that Apple clearly has concluded that Samsung remains a critical business partner. [...] Samsung Electronics will apply its advanced 28-nanometer processing technology to produce qualified A6 mobile APs. TSMC will provide customized chips with designs from Apple, however, the volume will be very small.

The manufacturing process at TSMC hasn’t been stabilized. Considering Apple’s previous patterns of adopting qualified technologies, Apple isn’t taking risks. Samsung offers better pricing and capacity commitment for the A6 mobile APs.

The quad-core A6 system-on-a-chip (SoC) is expected to power the next iterations of Apple's iPhone and iPad devices. The recently released iPhone 4S and the iPad 2 run on just a dual-core A5 chip.

Samsung officials stress the legal issues remain an entirely separate matter from day-to-day business deals with its partners, with confirmation that Samsung COO Lee Jae-yong will meet with Apple CEO Tim Cook to discuss several pending issues.

In a slightly unrelated footnote, Samsung also confirmed that Lee attended the private memorial service for late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, following an invitation sent from Cook.

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