TSMC Beginning Production Of Apple’s New A6 Processor

We reported a few weeks ago that Apple was potentially looking at TSMC (otherwise known as the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) to start work on their next-generation A6 processor. Apple seems to have made up their mind in the interim, as the partnership was confirmed on Friday by the Chinese Economic News Service.

TSMC, the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, has reportedly already begun trial production run of the new chip. The A6’s design hasn’t been finalized yet, but the company aims to have the final product done by Q1 2012, in time for its big public unveiling a few months afterwards.

With the A6 expected to power Apple’s next-generation iPads and iPhones, TSMC’s production timeline means there won’t be any iPad 3s sitting under anyone’s Christmas tree this year. That timing also means the chip’s much-awaited specifications won’t be set in stone for quite a while. The A6 is expected to retain its dual-core architecture, but the report leaves just enough room for ardent semiconductor fans to speculate like crazy.

There are already rumors, for example, that the A6 will be Apple’s first quad-core processor. Quad-core chipsets have already been announced by Qualcomm and NVIDIA, and considering those companies have a strong working relationship with TSMC, it’s possible that some quad-core production expertise could find its way into the A6.