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(Pocket-lint) - Samsung has started making the A9 chip for Apple, the processor believed to be at the heart of the next iPhone; the iPhone 7 or, if Apple sticks to tradition, the iPhone 6S.

It was revealed several months ago that Samsung had won the business to manufacture the chip, and now it has been leaked by sources that the company has started the process in the Austin plant in the US.

It is said to be using 14-nanometre FinFET technology for the chips, which are said to use 35 per cent less power to run, while having 20 per cent more processing power. They are also 15 per cent smaller than 20nm chips - ideal for smartphone or tablet manufacturers that need more room in the case for larger batteries, etc.

It is still early days in the life of the next iPhone or iPad for that matter, with new devices not expected until the latter stages of 2015. It is likely therefore that the first batches of A9 chips will be destined for prototype testing rather than full production models.

Rumours also suggest that the 14nm FinFET technology could be employed in chips for other clients. At least one other was suggested by several online sources yesterday.

Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 12 December 2014.