Apple has been getting its chips “fabbed” by Samsung for years. That hasn’t changed with the A7
There had been some speculation that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) would make the chip, but that likely won’t happen until Apple’s A8, or whatever comes next.
Apple has moved to a more advanced 28-nanometer manufacturing process from the previous 32-nanometer tech, according to Chipworks. Generally, the smaller the geometries, the more advanced the process, allowing more transistors to be packed into the equivalent or a smaller die area.
Anandtech speculates that a Chipworks die photo (below) shows a dual-core A7 central processing unit (yellow border) and the lower-right reveals “four replicated blocks with some shared logic in between” (light blue border) — which is the “4-cluster” PowerVR G6430 graphics processing unit (GPU) from Imagination Technologies.
The M7 co-processor — separate from the A7 — is from NXP.
The M7 is a “sidekick” to the A7 chip, according to Apple. It’s designed to measure motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass.
Chipworks also confirmed that the 8MP camera sensor is a “stacked” Sony Exmor-RS sensor, as iFixit reported last night.
Apple’s A7 is the first 64-bit ARM processor to land in a smartphone.