Apple might have dropped Samsung, which developed the company’s current system-on-a-chip processor, as its chip manufacturer in favor of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), according to a report by Ars Technica.

Samsung developed both of Apple’s recent system-on-a-chip processors, the A4 and the A5. The iPad 2 uses Apple’s A5 chip, a 1-gigahertz dual-core processor that is more powerful than the A4 chip featured in the iPhone 4. The A4 chip is a single-core chip that clocks in at around 800 megahertz. The next version of the iPhone is rumored to carry the A5 chip.

TSMC might manufacture Apple’s next system-on-a-chip processor, dubbed the “A6,” for the 2012 mobile device line-up, according to the report. The next A6 ARM CPU is rumored to be based on a 28nm manufacturing process, instead of the 45nm manufacturing process Samsung uses.

The iPhone manufacturer is currently engaged in a slew of lawsuits against Samsung. The company alleges that Samsung copied the aesthetic design of the iPhone for its own line-up of smartphones, including the Nexus S and Galaxy S.

Apple could sell both an “iPhone 5” and a less expensive “iPhone 4S” later this year, according to Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore. The iPhone 4 currently retails at $199 for a 16-gigabyte model and $299 for a 32-gigabyte model, and both require a contract with wireless providers AT&T and Verizon. That puts the phones out of the price range of many devices that run Google’s operating system, Android, which can cost as low as $50.

Apple currently sells an 8-gigabyte model of the iPhone 3GS, the phone manufacturer’s last generation phone, for $50 in order to hit that market point. But the phone is considered dated and is already nearly two years old, while new Android devices come out daily that have better technical specifications than the iPhone 3GS and sport a similar price tag.

We’ll be exploring the most disruptive mobile trends at our fourth annual MobileBeat 2011 conference, on July 12-13 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. It will focus on the rise of 4G and how it delivers the promise of true mobile computing. We’re also accepting entries for our mobile startup competition at the show. MobileBeat is co-located with our GamesBeat 2011 conference this year. To register, click on this link. Sponsors can message us at

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