Korea's Electronic Times reports today that Samsung has begun manufacturing Apple's A9 system-on-chip, the successor to the A8 series powering the iPhone 6 and the latest iPads. Using Samsung's newest 14nm process, the new chip is said to have entered production yesterday, December 11th, at Samsung's facility in Austin, Texas. There's been varying speculation about who will be building the next generation of Apple's processor after the A8 saw Apple shifting most of its manufacturing orders to Taiwan's TSMC. Now it appears that Samsung has reclaimed the lion's share of Apple's production needs, which is something the Korean company foretold in comments made to the press in October. Dr. Kinam Kim, the president and general manager of Samsung's semiconductor business, told reporters that the company's profits "will improve positively" once it begins supplying Apple with chips from its 14nm line.
Samsung was expected to begin production by the end of the year, so the current revelation is simply adhering to the established roadmap, but the company has so far refused to divulge details on when it will start delivering components to Apple. For its part, the iPhone maker is still expected to split its orders between Samsung and TSMC, making sure it's not wholly reliant on just one supplier, though it looks like the balance for the next-generation chip will swing back in favor of Samsung. As much as Apple has tried to reduce its dependance on its nearest mobile rival, Samsung's technological prowess appears to be keeping it as a necessary partner.