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TSMC starts shipping mobile processors for Apple -- report

Apple has relied on Samsung for its mobile processors, but WSJ reports that Apple's deal with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. appears to be bearing fruit.

Apple's A7 processor from Samsung. Apple

Apple has finally started breaking ties with Samsung and its mobile processors, according to a new report.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), a mobile chipmaker that signed a deal with Apple last year to make processors for the company, has started shipping those components, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the situation. The first batch of processors went into Apple's supply chain in the second quarter and will continue through to next year when Apple and TSMC are expected to work together to build more-advanced chips.

After Apple and TSMC signed their deal last year to partner on the production and distribution of processors in Apple's mobile products, there was some doubt among analysts that the chipmaker would be able to make enough of the sophisticated chips Apple requires in its devices.

Working with TSMC means Apple no longer needs to rely solely on Samsung for mobile processors. The reliance has been troublesome for Apple, which considers Samsung a major competitor and has battled the company in courts worldwide over alleged patent infringement. Finding another processor partner -- or potentially a replacement for Samsung altogether -- has been a major goal for Apple.

Samsung currently makes the A7 processor found in Apple's latest mobile products.

Looking ahead, Apple and TSMC are expected to test the possibility of chips made with a 16-nanometer manufacturing process. TSMC is currently producing chips with 20-nanometer technology for Apple.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment and will update this story when we have more information.