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Apple’s 2018 iPhone will reportedly pack a Samsung-built 7nm A12 processor

SAMSUNG WILL REPORTEDLY end a five-year hiatus and return to build chips for Apple’s iPhone in 2018. 

So says The Korea Herald, which has heard from ‘unnamed sources’ that Samsung clinched the deal after Kwon Oh-Hyun, one of its three co-CEOs who oversees the company’s chip business, visited Apple’s headquarters last month and apparently managed to make it past the firm’s security. 

Oh-Hyun reportedly “persuaded” Apple given his firm’s ties to OLED display technology, with Samsung tipped to be the lone supplier of screens for the upcoming iPhone 8. Back in June, a report claimed that  Apple has ordered 80 million flexible OLED displays, noting that while the iPhone 8 won’t offer Galaxy S8-esque curved display, the screen will “cover the entire front body of the device”. 

Samsung also in March announced that it would purchase specialised machines, reportedly in an attempt to produce seven-nanometer (7nm) processors for the iPhone and regain Apple’s business.

“Samsung plans to complete its own tests for the new chip-making machines soon and seek final approval from Apple for the chip production,” the report claims. 

The Korean firm was the primary producer of iPhone chips until 2013, when Apple awarded its rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) exclusive production rights.

TSMC won’t be dumped altogether, though, with the Herald noting that Samsung likely will split production Taiwanese firm. 

If the rumours are true, Intel likely isn’t best pleased. In May, a report claimed that at Samsung’s chip sales could top Intel’s in the second quarter of this year, coming in at $14.6bn compared to $14.4bn, and a deal with Apple no doubt will extend the firm’s lead.

“Samsung’s big increase in sales has been driven by an amazing rise in DRAM and NAND flash average selling prices,” IC Insights said.

“IC Insights expects that the tremendous gains in DRAM and NAND flash pricing experienced through 2016 and into the first quarter of 2017 will begin to cool in the second half of the year, but there remains solid upside potential to IC Insights’ current forecast of 39 per cent growth for the 2017 DRAM market and 25 per cent growth in the NAND flash market. µ

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