Digitimes reports Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) and Globalfoundries have landed orders from Qualcomm and Apple for chips to be made using their next-gen 14nm FinFET (3D transistor) process. Production is expected to start in early 2015.
Samsung and Globalfoundries inked a FinFET licensing deal this spring in an effort to challenge TSMC's (TSM +2.7%) foundry market hegemony. Qualcomm is a top TSMC client, and Apple (though historically relying on Samsung) is reportedly relying on TSMC to help make its upcoming A8 and A9 CPUs.
TSMC, which has had an edge in ramping 28nm and (more recently) 20nm chip production, is responding to Samsung/Globalfoundries' challenge with plans to launch a 16nm FinFET process by year's end, and (more importantly) roll out its low-power 16nm FinFET+ process in early 2015.
TSMC claims 16nm FinFET+ chips will consume 30% less power than 16nm FinFET chips at the same clock speed, and offer 40% better performance than comparable 20nm chips.
Digitimes states TSMC plans to launch a FinFET+ process "tailored to Apple's requirements," as part of its efforts to manufacture the A9.