According to industry insiders on December 11, SEC began production of Apple's A9 in the Austin plant in the US using the 14nm FinFET technology. Samsung has production lines capable of FinFET process production in Austin, US and Giheung, Korea, but began to produce A9 only in Austin as it is in the initial stage. SEC originally said it would start production of the 14nm FinFET chip at the end of this year, but did not disclose whether the company received an order from Apple for the production of A9 chips or whether the production line is actually running. SEC has shown confidence in the yield of the 14nm FinFET process, and supplied samples as good as finished products early enough.
It's said that the Austin plant began production first, at Apple's request. This may be to keep security tight.
The order is an important one for Samsung as it restores foundry quantities that Apple had shifted over to TSMC and gives Samsung the upper hand in the 14nm FinFET technology competition with TSMC. Losing Apple orders had hit SEC's foundry business hard; however, it is now expected to recover to a certain extent thanks to the A9 orders.
“We said we would inject production wafers when we announced Q3 performance,” said SEC. “But we cannot confirm whether we received orders from Apple or at which plant it will be produced.”
Notably, Taiwan's TSMC has started risk production of the 16nm FinFET plus (16FF+) process, and began to produce chips in July - earlier than expected. It will be interesting to see how the competition between Samsung and TSMC develops and which processes Apple selects for its various chips going forward.
Read More [via Verge]