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Oct 15, 2014

13-Inch iPad Also Has A8X Processor, TSMC Steals All Orders




The processor powering Apple’s largest iPad yet is being manufactured by Taiwanese foundry TSMC, the same company currently making the A8 chip for the iPhone 6 range.

The 13-inch iPad will be a “Pro” version of the Apple tablet and will run on a custom-designed variant of the A8 SoC (system on a chip). Dubbed A8X, the 20nm silicon will be larger in size than the A8 and could pose manufacturing problems.

TSMC wins the orders

Samsung used to be Apple’s top SoC supplier, but the iPhone maker has expanded its list of partners to include Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company in recent years. Slowly but surely, TSMC finally won the bulk of chip orders from Apple, leaving Samsung with a much smaller share than in previous years. As far as the larger iPad is concerned, it appears that TSMC has won all the orders, leaving nothing for Samsung. Sources familiar with the matter say, “Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has landed CPU orders for Apple's upcoming next-generation iPad expected to be released in early 2015,” according to a DigiTimes report.

Bigger A8X silicon

The same people note that TSMC is currently making the A8 processors for the iPhone 6 and that the foundry “will continue to make the new CPUs for the new iPad on a 20nm process as it did currently for the A8 processors.” These people add that “the new CPU is tentatively codenamed A8X,” and that “the SoC of the A8X will be larger than that of A8's,” something that might affect yield rates. However, this is pure speculation on the sources’ behalf.

iPad Pro for business on the go

Whether or not the new iPad will be called Pro or Plus, the 13-inch tablet is said to be geared towards the enterprise sector. Businesspeople will be the primary target, but creatives will surely appreciate the larger screen size too. An extra three inches can make a whole lot of difference when talking about screen size, not to mention that Apple has plans to finally give iOS a split-screen multitasking feature that will enable users to work with several apps at the same time, something that Windows users have been enjoying for quite some time now. In fact, Apple’s reasons for deploying the larger iPad are said to be directly tied to Microsoft and Samsung. The two rivals have already flooded the market with enterprise tablets that go well beyond the 10-inch mark.

Apple A8X processor
Image credits to apple.club.tw

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