It Would Take Apple Over a Year to Switch Chip Suppliers

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If there is a constant thread in discussions about Samsung and Apple, it’s when or if Apple would stop using them to make A-series chips. Even this week, people were talking about what the fallout would be if TSMC became the chip supplier. The reality is, however, that even if Apple made the switch today, it might be up to a year before we’d see those chips in production devices.

AppleInsider quotes analyst Amit Daryanani what I think we all logically already know, switching suppliers for such a crucial component isn’t a trivial matter:

“Shifting chip manufacturers isn’t easy and requires a complete redo of production and manufacturing process,” Daryanani wrote in a note to investors on Friday. “Hence, these changes will take 12-18 months at minimum and won’t be commercially sold ’til 2014.”
From: Complex chip shift from Samsung expected to take Apple 12-18 months

And as the article continues, TSMC would need billions of dollars in investment to make it happen in the first place:

That’s where TSMC comes in, which Daryanani said could begin manufacturing chips for Apple in 2014, as soon as they transition to their 20-nanometer production process. He believes TSMC would need capital expenditures of between $1 billion and $3 billion, which would give Apple an opportunity to co-invest and ease the company’s burden.

Realistically, then, Apple is going to be working with Samsung (if that where a Facebook relationship status “It’s complicated” doesn’t even begin to describe it) for a long time.