Following a rumor in late September that claimed the so-called “iPad Pro” could have a more powerful Apple A8X chip under the hood, Taiwan-based DigiTimes reports on Wednesday that Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will be tasked with production of the next-generation processor for the oft-rumored 12.9-inch tablet.
According to the report, the Taiwanese manufacturer has received orders for the upcoming next-generation iPad expected to be released in early 2015. While the publication does not specifically mention the 12.9-inch iPad, the expected launch of the iPad Air 2 and new iPad mini with Retina display tomorrow rules out those tablets for the A8X chip.
TSMC is currently responsible for fabricating Apple A8 processors for the iPhone 6, which has been available since last month and was recently predicted to surpass 60 to 70 million shipments through the end of 2014. The A8X chip for the 12.9-inch iPad will reportedly continue to be manufactured based on a 20nm process used for the A8 processors.
That 20-nanometer process could pose a challenge to TSMC in terms of yield rates, according to sources, but the orders from Apple help account for an estimated 30% or more of the manufacturer’s overall revenue in 2015 if it can manage the task.
The A8X chip was previously leaked in an unconfirmed photo of what could be an iPad Air 2 component, the first tablet expected to feature the more powerful processor:
TSMC is also tasked with producing peripheral components for the iPhone 6 that include Dialog’s power management (PWM) ICs, Qualcomm’s 4G baseband chips, Synaptics’ LCD driver ICs, InvenSense’s 6-axis gyroscopes, and AhthenTec’s fingerprint sensors for Touch ID.
The top A8X chip image used in this article is for illustrative purposes only.[via DigiTimes]