Chipworks Confirms Apple's A7 is Built On Samsung's 28nm HK+MG Processby Anand Lal Shimpi on September 20, 2013 5:09 PM EST
Chipworks is in the process of delayering Apple's A7, but they just confirmed what we mentioned in our iPhone 5s review: Apple's A7 is built at Samsung using their 28nm HK+MG process, the same used for the Exynos 5410/5420. The confirmation comes by looking at contacted gate pitch, which is similar to that of other devices using Samsung's 28nm HK+MG process (and smaller than the previous generation 32nm A6). I'm sure we'll get more details once Chipworks goes further.
Apple has been running test silicon at TSMC for a while now, and will likely shift the production of some silicon there in the not too distant future. I'm not expecting a clean switch from Samsung to TSMC, but rather a hybrid solution where Apple produces some silicon at TSMC and some at Samsung. We may even see it split across SoC lines rather than a mix for one SoC.
Rumors of an Intel foundry deal cropped up again recently, but it's far too early for something like that. Not to mention that the deal that was being worked on wasn't for 22nm.