The first real evidence of Apple's rumoured plans to ditch Samsung as its key component supplier may have been uncovered by a teardown of the newly-tweaked Apple TV set-top box.

In a report published Monday, MacRumors said close examination of the Apple TV 3.2 device, released without pomp and circumstance in January, confirmed the presence of a smaller Apple A5 processor.

Why is this significant? Well, the site said, the new version of the chip may have been manufactured using 28 nanometer architecture - something Samsung will apparently not be able to build until much later this year.

The new A5 chip measures at just 6mm x 6mm, compared with the 8.19 mm x 8.68 mm, 45 nanometer technology on the previous hardware.

What does it all mean?

The discovery led MacRumors to conclude that the chip (originally thought to be an A5X chip) may have been made by the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) rather than Samsung.

If the site's suspicions turn out to be true, it would be major news with far reaching implications for the industry.

Every single Apple iOS device to date, including the Apple TV, has featured processors assembled for the company by Samsung.

The well documented souring of relations between Apple and Samsung has naturally led to speculation that the multi-billion dollar, mutually beneficial exchanges may be coming to an end.

Apple is said to be shopping around for a new component supplier, while Samsung jacked up the prices it charged Apple by 20 per cent late last year in the aftermath of a crushing patent lawsuit defeat in the U.S.

This may be the first evidence of that shift with Apple perhaps deciding it wishes to no longer line the pockets of its biggest rival.

Via MacRumors