Samsung is now producing the A9 chip for Apple in Austin, Texas, Korea IT News reported on Friday. The outlet says the A9 chip will use a 14 nanometer FinFET process and should greatly help Samsung’s semiconductor division, which has lost some of Apple’s chip business in the past few years to TSMC.
It seems a bit early to me for an A9 chip production line geared for the next round of Apple’s iPhones, though. Unless Apple is planning to accelerate its typical iPhone schedule, we shouldn’t see new iPhones until September 2015 or so. The same goes for iPads: Apple revises them on a yearly basis not long after the annual iPhone release, although I think it can afford to stretch that cycle even further.
Then again, there has been that repeated rumor of a larger iPad: A 12.2- or 12.9-inch iPad Pro, as it were. And we’ve seen some evidence in iOS 8 that Apple’s software will take advantage of a larger touchscreen with two apps running side by side on the display. That makes me wonder: Might this A9 production actually be geared toward the bigger iPad?
The timing would coincide better with A9 chip production now, mainly because some signs have pointed to a spring 2015 release for a larger iPad. To get such a product ready for that time frame would mean chip manufacturing has to start right around now. It’s just an educated guess on my part, but — assuming Samsung really is producing the A9 chip now — it’s a logical one.