Apple reportedly signs Samsung for next-gen iPhone chips

South Korean electronics giant will supply Apple with A9 chips that will be used in a future iPhone, the Korea Economic Daily reports.

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Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
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Samsung in iPhone 7? CNET

Apple and Samsung's relationship is apparently not so strained as to prevent the South Korean electronics giant from providing the chips that will power future iPhones, a recent report claimed.

Samsung will supply Apple with A9 chips based on a 14-nanometer process node starting in 2015, the Korea Economic Daily reported Monday. The chip would go into production in 2015 and power an iPhone, theoretically called the iPhone 7, which could be released in the latter half of that year, according to the report.

The report comes a few weeks after another news agency reported that Apple and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company had reached a three-year deal for developing Apple's A series chips, extending all the way to silicon called the A9.

CNET has contacted Apple and Samsung for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

To date, Samsung has been the exclusive manufacturer of Apple's A series processors for its iOS devices -- including the current A6 chip. But Apple reportedly has been reducing its chip orders to the South Korean electronics giant for its next-generation iPhone as it tries to diversify supply lines and reduce its dependence on its legal foe and competitor.

Apple reportedly tried to secure exclusive access to TSMC smartphone chips by making an investment offer to the custom chipmaker in excess of $1 billion. The cash would have assured Apple that production would have been reserved for its products, but TSMC rejected the bid -- along with a similar one from Qualcomm, Bloomberg reported last month.

Apple reportedly is exploring a possible deal with chipmaker Globalfoundries to produce future chips, giving the company the kind of control over both design and chip manufacturing that Intel has. However, a semiconductor industry source told CNET that Apple and Globalfoundries were "kicking the tires," but that "by no means" is any firm deal imminent at this point.