On August 21, Samsung revealed that it intends to invest around $4 billion in renovation of its Austin-based factory, where iPhone and iPad CPUs are made. Aside from renovating the existing plant, the investment is meant to bolster manufacture of ARM-based processors featured in smartphones and tablets. Samsung is thought to be the only electronics maker supplying iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV chips.
In June, the company already announced its plans for building a new logic chip facility in South Korea to better handle orders from clients like Apple. Analysts estimate Samsung to spend 2.25 trillion won on the project, which translates into $1.98 billion.
Tim Cook mentioned the company’s factory in Austin at “All Things D” in May while explaining why it is hard to move most of Apple production to the U.S. Although American plants build many parts for Apple devices, he said, final assembly is based overseas, mainly in the Asian-Pacific region.
While Samsung is responsible for making a bulk of custom chips and other components for Apple products, recent rumors have suggested that the company hopes to drift away from its heavy reliance on the Korean tech giant. Last year, for instance, Apple sealed a foundry agreement with TSMC to build ARM processors for the iPhone and iPad.
Some publications have argued that TSMC could start making custom ARM chips for Apple this year, but no source has mentioned that the company has placed orders for the iPhone 4S’ A5 processor or the new iPad’s A5X chip with anyone other than Samsung so far.