Consumer protection agency calls for testing of new iPhone chips

10/13/2015 06:52 PM

Taipei, Oct. 13 (CNA) Taiwan's Department of Consumer Protection said Tuesday it has asked the country's communications regulator to check whether there is a difference in the performance of the new iPhone chips made by two different suppliers.

Wu Cheng-hsueh (吳政學), deputy director-general of the department, told the press that he has asked the National Communication Commission (NCC) to test the power consumption of Apple Inc.'s A9 chips supplied by Samsung Electronics Co. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC, 台積電).

If it is found that there is a difference in power consumption between the chips supplied by Samsung and TSMC, to the point where the quality of the device is affected, the NCC would be obligated to protect consumers' interests by seeking a recall or a discount, Wu said.

Recent reports on the Internet have claimed that the A9 processors supplied by TSMC for the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus are performing better than the chips made by Samsung.

Third-party tests by AnTuTu, GeekBench and MyDrivers found that the TSMC-powered iPhones allowed up to two hours more battery life than Samsung-powered iPhones, under high workloads that demanded ultimate performance of the A9 chips.

In response, Apple said that in normal use, the battery life of the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus vary by just 2-3 percent, even with components from different sources, according to a statement posted Oct. 8 on the tech news site TechCrunch.

“Certain manufactured lab tests which run the processors with a continuous heavy workload until the battery depletes are not representative of real-world usage, since they spend an unrealistic amount of time at the highest CPU performance state. It's a misleading way to measure real-world battery life,” Apple said in the statement.

“Our testing and customer data show the actual battery life of the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, even taking into account variable component differences, vary within just 2-3 percent of each other,” the American company said.

Nonetheless, many consumers who bought an iPhone 6S or iPhone 6S Plus with a Samsung-made processor are calling for a refund, according to reports.

In Taiwan, people who buy the new iPhone models via Taiwan's Apple online store have the option to return them for an unconditional refund within 14 days of purchase.

Telecom stores in Taiwan, however, said iPhone returns are allowed only in cases of malfunction or visible flaws. Phones equipped with the Samsung-made chips may not be returned unless they have such problems, the stores said.

Samsung and TSMC used different levels of technology to produce the A9 chips that power the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus.

The die size on Samsung's A9 chip, which is made on the 14-nanometer process, is 96 square millimeters, while on the TSMC chip, produced on the less advanced 16-nanometer technology, it is 104.5 square millimeters.

(By Chen Cheng-wei and Jeffrey Wu)ENDITEM/pc

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