Apple blocks Samsung access to next iPhone chip, says report

Samsung won't be making Apple's upcoming A7 chip, says a Korea-based report.

Brooke Crothers
Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
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.
Apple's iPhone 5 circuit board with the A6 chip made by Samsung.
Apple's iPhone 5 circuit board with the A6 chip made by Samsung. iFixit

Apple is cutting Samsung out of anything related to the chip slated for future iPhones and iPads, a South Korea-based newspaper reported.

Apple "has excluded its Korean rival from a project to develop A7...processors," wrote The Korea Times.

That chip will be the successor to the A6 and A6X -- which Samsung makes for Apple -- now powering the iPhone and iPad, respectively.

'"Apple is sharing confidential data for its next A7 system-on-chip (SoC) with the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). TSMC has begun ordering its contractors to supply equipment to produce Apple's next processors,'' the Times said, citing a source at one of Samsung's partners.

Last month, sources told CNET that "Apple is designing products now based on the TSMC 20-nanometer spec. Production should happen in 2014."

That source also said that Apple will stick with Samsung until the A6 runs its course.

Apple and Samsung have been partners in chip development and chip manufacturing for years but the two companies have been sparring on the legal front, complicating the relationship.

Nathan Brookwood of Insight 64 told CNET last month that he believes there is incentive for Apple to transition away from Samsung.

"The Samsung semiconductor guys are privy to the product plans of customers (like Apple). And if Samsung Semiconductor knows, there's a possibility that Samsung Electronics is going to find out too."

We've contacted Apple for comment and will update this report when we learn more.