One of the key components of Apple devices — the iPad 2- and iPhone 4S-powering A5 processor — is apparently now American made, at least in part. That’s according to a new report from Reuters Friday, which says the A5 processor is now being made by Apple supply partner Samsung at a factory in Austin, Texas owned by the South Korean electronics manufacturer.
Reuters says Samsung is building the A5 in a new, $3.6 billion non-memory chip production facility that makes up part of Samsung’s sprawling factory in the plant, which is as big as about nine football fields, or 1.6 million square feet. Samsung’s A5 production in the Austin facility achieved full production in December, and almost all of its capacity is dedicated to making chips for Apple, according to Reuters’ sources.
Apple declined to comment to Reuters, since it doesn’t publicly discuss its supplier relationships, and a Samsung rep likewise wouldn’t name names, though they did confirm to Reuters that the plant was indeed recently expanded to make logic chips, in addition to NAND flash memory modules. Samsung has only one other factory for producing chips like the A5, located in its home country of South Korea.
In the U.S., Austin is a destination for semiconductor companies. It hosts facilities from corporations like ARM, Intel and Freescale Semiconductor, and has a steady stream of field-specific engineering graduates from the University of Texas for these companies to draw staff from.
Apple’s devices are still assembled in China out of components mostly sourced from Asian suppliers, but it’s sort of nice to know that a good portion of the processors that make the things work are made on U.S. soil.