After nearly three years of reports, rumors, and scoops which never panned out, it's been confirmed that Apple's new A8 processor is in fact being manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC).
Latest news from @Chipworks: The A8 processor was fabricated at TSMC and uses a 20 nm CMOS manufacturing process.- iFixit (@iFixit) September 19, 2014
The news comes courtesy of Chipworks who deduced as much after tearing the iPhone open and examining all of its internal components.
As anyone who's followed Apple over the years can attest, reports of Apple ditching Samsung and instead relying on TSMC to fabricate their series of A-x processors dates all the way back to 2011 when reports surfaced that TMSC would manufacture the A5. Similar rumors emerged in subsequent years regarding the A6 and the A7.
Apple said that it has two billion transistors (twice that of the A7) and is reportedly built on TSMC's 20 nm process. At 89 mm2, it is 13 percent smaller than the A7 (102 mm2), while Apple claims it has an up to 25 percent faster CPU and 50 percent faster graphics. It is up to 50 times faster than the original iPhone's CPU and up to 84 times faster at graphics; all while being 50 percent more energy efficient than the A7, which we hope is a good sign for the batteries on those big ol' displays
We can tell you that the contacted gate pitch is ~90 nm, which agrees with our report on the Qualcomm MDM9235, also fabbed by TSMC in their 20 nm process.
The Chipworks teardown of the iPhone is incredibly in-depth and well worth checking out if you're at all interested in where Apple sources all of the components that make up Apple's new iPhone models.