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Apple A5 chipApple has tapped Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) to build its next-generation A6 chip, which has just begun trial production, Taiwan Economic News reports.

The A6 is expected to be an even faster performing dual-core mobile chip for Apple’s devices. It could be unveiled as soon as the second quarter of next year, according to the report, a possible hint that we’ll see a new iPad with the A6 early next year.

Apple previously relied on Samsung to build its A4 and A5 system-on-a-chip processors, but we reported back in June that Apple could task TSMC with A6 building duties for its next chip due to an ongoing legal battle with Samsung. Apple asserts that Samsung’s Android smartphones and tablets “slavishly” copy its own designs and filed suit against the company in April. Apple has already managed to stop sales of Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Australia and Europe.

“TSMC has applied its newest 28-nanometer process and 3D stacking technologies to produce the next-generation processor A6, which is based on the ARM architecture and will undergo TSMC’s cutting-edge silicon interposer and bump on trace (BOT) methodologies,” Taiwan Economic News’ Steve Chuang writes.

We’ve asked TSMC for comment on the news, but the company has yet to publicly acknowledge its business relationship with Apple.

Sources tell the paper that TSMC, the world’s biggest chip builder, could have built Apple’s previous chips, but it was already booked with orders from customers like Nvidia and Qualcomm. The company now has room for Apple since the chip industry is experiencing a depression.

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