It looks like the TSMC deal with Apple might change a few things around for other big fabless companies. Traditionally Nvidia and AMD (ATI) were among the first companies to manufacture their GPUs on the smallest, most advanced manufacturing node. These companies need the performance and getting from a larger node to a smaller one, eg. from 28nm to 20nm, means a smaller die, less power, less heat and lower voltage for the product.
Last week Apple launched the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and as always these phones will sell like hot cakes. The community wanteda larger iPhone and they got it, but more importantly both phones and probably the next two iPads will end up with A8 20nm chips inside. Apple will sell tens of millions of these phones and tablets and 20nm A8 based devices will be fast. This puts a lot of pressure on companies such as Nvidia and AMD, that need a next generation manufacturing node for their graphics cards.
2014 will end without 20nm GPUs and our industry sources from multiple companies are confirming that Apple ate a lot of the manufacturing capacity. Qualcomm got a piece of action for its 20nm modems and there will be 20nm Qualcomm SoC launching rather soon, with the real ramp in early 2015.
Every new node is limited and usually expensive. Apple can get a really good deal as it will buy more wafers than anyone. Volume drives the price down. The remaining, usually very limited, capacity is expensive.
Apple used Samsung fabs in the past but Samsung simply didn’t fit Apple's needs anymore simply as TSMC was able to offer better yields. Samsung and Globalfoundries have promised that they might get to 14nm soon, but this remains to be seen.
It looks like Apple is the golden customer for just about any company in the world and it doesn’t have problems getting the attention it needs. This changes the world we knew it and helps Apple to have one of the best SoCs on the market, be the first company with a high-volume 20nm chip and instantly get ability to make and sell tens of millions of them.