N.Y. silicon corridor fuels more Apple made-in-U.S.A. rumors

Apple says it plans to make Macs in the U.S. next year, spurring speculation about chip companies setting up shop here to make Apple silicon.

More chip factories coming to the U.S. to  cater to Apple?
More chip factories coming to the U.S. to cater to Apple? Intel

New York state has emerged as a chipmaking hot spot -- hot enough to fuel the latest speculation about Apple's plans to push for more U.S.-based manufacturing.

In a story on Tuesday, the Albany Times Union speculated that Apple may be behind a push to set up a chipmaking facility in upstate New York.

An "undisclosed company searching for a site for a chip [plant] could be a major supplier to Apple for its popular iPhone and iPad devices," Larry Rulison of the Times Union wrote.

And that undisclosed company? Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) -- the largest contract chip manufacturer in the world.

But let's keep a few things in mind.

• Getting TSMC to set up shop in New York would take years: So, any U.S.-based Apple-related production would be in the distant future -- if at all.

• GlobalFoundries is already there: The chipmaker recently started up a massive multibillion-dollar chip factory in Malta, N.Y. that aims to make the same kind of chips that Apple wants -- that is, advanced processors based on the ARM design. While it may not be ready to make those advanced chips today, it could be in the future.

• Samsung too: Despite the legal wrangling with Apple, Samsung does a pretty good job of making chips for Apple's iPad and iPhone at its U.S.-based plant in Austin, Texas. And that plant was put in the U.S. originally to cater -- at least in part -- to Apple.

• Don't forget Intel: And then there's Intel. Apple could always turn to the world's premier chipmaker, which has more than a few plants in the U.S. Any deal with Intel would potentially be big enough to preclude TSMC.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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