Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) may not have the exclusive contract to fab Apple's next-generation mobile processor, the A8, after all, as had previously been suggested. Last week, China's Commercial Times reported that TSMC had ramped up production of the new chip and that it would replace Apple's erstwhile …
I doubt Apple would have two suppliers for the same chip. The two fabs use completely different design rules, so they'd have to have two separate designs. Not impossible, but doesn't fit with how Apple has done things before, unless they're doing it to allow squeezing both on price.
Seems more likely that there are multiple varieties of A8 (i.e. like the A6/A6X) and one would be made by one fab and the other by the other fab.
If Apple's CPUs are entirely synthesizable, then it would be pretty easy to have two suppliers for the same chip.
It might be a bit risky to have all your chips in one egg basket.
That it is synthesizable is a big assumption, however. I believe PA Semi's designs were full custom, thus I wouldn't be surprised if the same is true of the A6 and A7, and hence future designs.
Typically you do a synthesizable design for cost savings, and a full custom design for maximum performance when cost is less of an issue. I think Apple is more likely to pursue the latter strategy.
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