Rumor: Apple plans June iPhone 5S with TSMC New York-made processors

Apple [AAPL] is putting together the pieces for its plans for 2013, these currently include an iPhone 5S equipped with chips manufactured by a new partner and a variety of other fresh products.

[ABOVE: From the "where are they now" dept: Apple's Steve Jobs introduces the iTunes phone developed with Motorola. It was no iPhone.

Latest iPhone 5S claims

There's a hubbub of current speculation which once again claims Apple intends launching the next iteration of its iPhone in or around June: it's important to take claims of a June launch with a pinch of salt as there's been similar speculation in the past and the product didn't actually appear until Q4.

Jefferies analyst, Peter Misek, is the latest who believes the new iPhone will hit market in June as the company moves to stagger its big product launches across the year. He believes the iPhone 5S will look the same, but will include:

  • A super HD camera/display
  • "A better battery"
  • NFC support
  • It's possible it will also feature an IGZO Retina+ display, a 128GB storage option and may be made available in multiple colors.

It's important to note this is nothing but speculation at this point, but perhaps the biggest news might be the replacement of Samsung as chip supplier for this device.

New York gets Apple chips

Apple has been working to replace its Korean foe for over a year. Attempts to secure chip production from TSMC haven’t worked out as yet, but this seems set to change.

TSMC had been expected to begin production of Apple device processors late next year, but, as the fight with Samsung sees no sign of abatement, it seems the schedule has been changed and the chips could hit production by Q2 2013 -- just in time for a fresh crop of Apple devices.

The new chips will be manufactured using TSMC's 28-nanometer process, the reports explain. The news follows previous claims Intel may also be recruited to build the chips.

Apple appears to have a plan to manufacture the chips in New York, according to hints dropped by Governor, Andrew Cuomo, who suggested the company may be behind a secret plan to build a 3.2 million-square-foot chip production plant.

A top secret Apple partner (TSMC?) has been looking at sites in upstate New York, one of which already holds a Global Foundries' chip production plant.

Cuomo didn't confirm the plans of course -- anyone who has ever dealt with Apple knows the company frowns on doing so, instead he said: "Well, we're shopping a lot of different companies at any given time. Apple has a lot of competition, obviously, for their location. I don't think that they're anywhere yet in the decision-making."

New York's potential good news is bad news for Texas, of course. Samsung currently makes iOS device chips in Austin. This means a move to site chip production in New York will mean fewer jobs for Austin, assuming Samsung can't replace its Apple business.

Apple and Samsung dominate mobile device market

Apple's Android army

The battle between Samsung and Apple seems an unequal struggle. Apple has the revenue, while Samsung has the numbers. Ryan Reith, program manager, Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers at IDC said: "Both vendors compete at the top of the tablet and smartphone markets. However, the difference in their collective ASPs is a telling sign of different market approaches. The fact that Apple's ASP is $310 higher than Samsung's with just over 20 million fewer shipments in the quarter speaks volumes about the premium product line that Apple sells."

Apple's attempts to base more manufacturing in the US will also continue. Foxconn is looking to expand operations in the US. These new factories will likely use a host of robot/android workers for the more menial tasks, "Any manufacturing we take back to the U.S. needs to leverage high-value engineering talent there in comparison to the low-cost labor of China," a Foxconn spokesman said last week.

Chinese connection

The other possibility -- given the lengthy negotiations between the two firms -- is that this purported future iPhone will be suitable for use on the China Mobile network.

There's certainly potential Apple will reach a deal with the world's biggest mobile carrier, especially in light of its continued attempts to build its business in China. Apple is opening its third store in Hong Kong and tenth in China on December 15.

The analyst also anticipates a thinner, lighter iPad model equipped with an indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) display. Previous reports have also predicted such a move.

Misek also speculates Apple intends diversifying its iPhone range with the introduction of a low cost model, and repeats his previous suggesting that an Apple television is also in the frame, (though it makes sense for that device to appear late next year).

Got a story? Drop me a line via Twitter or in comments below and let me know. I'd like it if you chose to follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when these items are published here first on Computerworld

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon