If a research note from Citigroup analyst J.T. Hsu is any indication, Apple is working with Taiwan-based chip manufacturer TSMC on quad-core chips that could be worked into future products such as the iPad and MacBooks in 2014.
According to a report on China Economic News Service (CENS), Hsu noted that Apple began verifying TSMC's 20-nanometer process this past August and may begin some limited-risk production in November. Full production of the more efficient, yet powerful chips would be expected in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Hsu notes that Apple began development of quad-core processors in 2010 after acquiring fabless chip company Intrincity. Apple would move manufacturing of the chip to Taiwanese supply chains consisting of TSMC, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc. and Kinsus Interconnect Technology Corporation.
This move all boils down to costs; Hsu thinks the Taiwanese manufacturers could produce the chips for about 10 percent less than Apple's main chip supplier at the present time -- Samsung. Quoting the CENS post, "Hsu ascribed Samsung's higher cost in the production of Apple processors mostly to the company's inefficiency."