There's no longer a question of whether Apple will cut ties with Samsung as a chip supplier. It's simply a matter of when. This week, however, we're seeing strong signs that Apple's departure from the Samsung fold could ramp up much sooner than some expected.

As one of the few companies "that have the capacity and the technology to meet Apple’s demand," TSMC is widely believed to be the company that will replace Samsung as Apple's primary chip supplier. Further evidence in validation of this suspicion came Tuesday when chairman and chief executive, Morris Chang, revealed plans for a record $9 billion in capital expenditures to expand production in 2013.

For Apple, however, working with TSMC also comes with benefits that the relationship with Samsung could never provide. "The added incentive," writes Lin Yang of the New York Times, is that "TSMC solely makes chips by contract, and probably will never compete with Apple in finished consumer electronics as Samsung has."

Regardless of Apple's purported involvement, we're told that market demand for TSMC's chips will be stellar this year and next. “Enough discussions have taken place, with enough customers who have large requirements (on 20nm), to lead us to believe that the volume will be very large,” Chang said.

According to the New York Times, that degree of bullishness "leads analysts to believe that Apple could be a customer involved in these discussions."

Source: NYT