The Albany TimesUnion blogger Larry Rulison reports that upstate New York chipmaker GlobalFoundries is preparing to make chips for Apple’s iPhone and iPad at its Fab 8 complex in Malta, according to a source close to the company.
Earlier this fall, CNET’s Brooke Crothers reported that Globalfoundries’ spanking-new $6 billion semiconductor plant/campus in Saratoga County, N.Y. is ready to make world-class chips for smartphones and tablets, but has no big customers as yet. However, speculation was bubbling that Apple is considering Globalfoundries as a possible maker of its chips, or even as a partner in a joint venture.
Apple is expected to phase down its dependence on Samsung, its longtime mobile SoC fabrication partner, next year, and switch in part to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company manufactured silicon. However, CNET’s Crothers notes that Apple could theoretically, switch with relative ease to GF because “Globalfoundries and Samsung have the same technology foundation based on an IBM joint development agreement,” according to one source, and that whatever happens, it’s probably likely that Apple is seriously thinking about moving some production to GF.
The TimesUnion’s Larry Rulison says that Samsung, which currently makes the Systems-on-Chip used in Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices at its Austin, Texas fab, will help with the start-up of the Globalfoundries Apple program, ensuring that Apple will have a second U.S. source for chips for its iOS devices.
Rulison reports that two years ago, Samsung and GlobalFoundries “synced” four of their fabs, including Samsung’s S2 fab and GlobalFoundries’ Fab 8 in Malta, to include the latest chips for mobile devices, and that a small team from Samsung is expected in Malta on Fab 8 with Apple’s chip-making “recipies,” and will will help GlobalFoundries set up the manufacturing processes at Fab 8 that will be needed to make the chips. It is unclear if that process will begin before the TDC is completed.
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