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Old Aug 25, 2014, 10:37 AM   #1
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TSMC Reportedly Ahead of Schedule With New 16nm Technology for Apple's A9 Chip




According to Taiwan's Economic Daily News [Google Translate, via Digitimes], Apple's reported current A-series chip partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is ahead of schedule with its next-generation 16nm process for chip production. The Chinese-language report claims TSMC will begin 16nm volume production in Q1 2015, a full quarter earlier than its originally projected Q2 2015 start. This advancement may pave the way for TSMC to supply Apple with the future A9 processor that would be used in the late 2015 iPhone.

TSMC is reportedly installing this 16mm capability in its manufacturing plants with the potential for a monthly output of 50,000 wafers. This capability positions TSMC favorably against Samsung as the two companies vie to supply Apple with processors for both its current and future iPhone and iPad models.

Reports from last year suggested Samsung, GlobalFoundries and TSMC would share production of Apple's A9 processor in 2015. Samsung is expected to handle the lion's share of the production, providing up to 40% of Apple's processor supply, although TSMC may be looking to alter that balance with its accelerated work. GlobalFoundries, TSMC and possibly even Intel may be used to complement Samsung's production to provide the remaining chip inventory necessary to meet Apple's demand.

Article Link: TSMC Reportedly Ahead of Schedule With New 16nm Technology for Apple's A9 Chip
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 10:43 AM   #2
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The start of iPhone 6s rumors
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 10:47 AM   #3
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Yeah right. I wish we could just get the iPhone 6 before these rumors with better specs are announced.
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 10:52 AM   #4
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So what kind of specs can we expect might come with the A9?
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 10:53 AM   #5
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I'm sorry, but the concept of two suppliers making the same chip scares me.
No way in earth will they be perfectly identical to the nanometer.
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 10:57 AM   #6
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We haven't even gotten the A8 and there priducing the next one? Lol..... Hey,better early than late.
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 11:00 AM   #7
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Sharing production load would be odd since 16nm is a half node and Samsung/GloFo are doing 14nm. There would be a performance delta that may or may not be significant when it comes to power consumption.
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 11:10 AM   #8
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Sharing production load would be odd since 16nm is a half node and Samsung/GloFo are doing 14nm. There would be a performance delta that may or may not be significant when it comes to power consumption.
They could make two functionally identical A9s on two different processes and use the 14nm for iPhones where power consumption and heat are more sensitive and 16nm for iPads where there's more headroom for power and heat. Performance can be adjusted by clock speed. Or 14nm for iPhones and iPads, 16nm (maybe even different design) for AppleTV or iwatch. This would keep TSMC profitable and investing in next gen tech at mass scale so more choices for future. Also maybe save some money on 16nm parts instead of all on 14nm.
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 11:36 AM   #9
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They could make two functionally identical A9s on two different processes and use the 14nm for iPhones where power consumption and heat are more sensitive and 16nm for iPads where there's more headroom for power and heat. Performance can be adjusted by clock speed. Or 14nm for iPhones and iPads, 16nm (maybe even different design) for AppleTV or iwatch. This would keep TSMC profitable and investing in next gen tech at mass scale so more choices for future. Also maybe save some money on 16nm parts instead of all on 14nm.
Downselecting by device is one potential solution. I wouldn't assume 16nm is any cheaper, though. I feel like if they were splitting across 16nm and 14nm, it's because they're so early in the production cycle that no one vendor can provide enough volume. That's kind of a scary thought.
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 12:13 PM   #10
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The start of iPhone 6s rumors
iPhone 6s. iPhone Success!

Wonder if they'll ever change this numbering scheme. I have a feeling maybe next month...
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 12:16 PM   #11
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At this rate, 1nm will be here before too long. Crazy what that day will bring us!
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 12:22 PM   #12
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There is no 5.5" iPhone 6S!!!
Ahemů
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 12:34 PM   #13
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Isn't it time to simply go:

iPhone (4")
iPhone Air (4.7")
iPhone Pro (5.5")

And drop the rest? Do the same for tablets and that's it.

iPad (7.9")
iPad Air (9.7")
iPad Pro (12 " or whatever).

Also Macs:

Macbook (12")
Macbook Air (14")
Macbook Pro (15.6")

iMac (21")
iMac Air (24")
iMac Pro (27")

Mac Pro.

Sounds nice.
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 12:40 PM   #14
ToomeyND
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At this rate, 1nm will be here before too long. Crazy what that day will bring us!
Smaller chips?
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 12:44 PM   #15
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At this rate, 1nm will be here before too long. Crazy what that day will bring us!
Not really. First of all it takes approximately 16 years for the feature size to lower by a factor of 10. That means to go from 16nm to 1nm takes another 19 years. But that's just the way it's been for the last 40 years. It's very likely that chip manufacturers will hit a more fundamental limit than ever at around 5 nm. Then people need so be a little more creative. Which is even more exciting, if you ask me.
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 12:46 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by pedromcm.pm View Post
Isn't it time to simply go:

iPhone (4")
iPhone Air (4.7")
iPhone Pro (5.5")

And drop the rest? Do the same for tablets and that's it.

iPad (7.9")
iPad Air (9.7")
iPad Pro (12 " or whatever).

Also Macs:

Macbook (12")
Macbook Air (14")
Macbook Pro (15.6")

iMac (21")
iMac Air (24")
iMac Pro (27")

Mac Pro.

Sounds nice.
**** no.
We don't need any stinking phablets from Apple. Or stupidly large iPads.
Also the 24 inch iMac is a thing of the past. Back in the days when 17, 20 and 24 inch iMacs were a thing.
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 12:49 PM   #17
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**** no.
We don't need any stinking phablets from Apple. Or stupidly large iPads.
Says who?

The market certainly wants them. Each time I read a comment like that I wonder what is wrong with humanity.

I don't want a stupid pathetic small screen either, but I'm not stupid so I understand that millions might want it.
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 01:13 PM   #18
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Says who?
[List]
But the Mac Mini D:
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 01:14 PM   #19
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So what kind of specs can we expect might come with the A9?
Faster, smaller, more energy efficient resulting most obviously in a slightly thinner case with "about the same battery life".

Quote:
Originally Posted by troop231 View Post
At this rate, 1nm will be here before too long. Crazy what that day will bring us!
I'm pretty sure there is a physics limit to this shrinking that cannot be overcome. I seem to recall that it's around 12-14nm but maybe down towards something like 9nm. I think I recall something about the limit cannot be broken because electrons would "bleed" across to other nearby circuits. In other words, the orderly functionality inside these chips would become disorderly.

Someone with much more knowledge of this, please chime in.

Update: I did find this: http://www.zdnet.com/ibm-to-invest-3...ps-7000031406/ suggesting 7nm is being attempted with a big dollar investment.

Last edited by HobeSoundDarryl; Aug 25, 2014 at 02:41 PM.
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 01:18 PM   #20
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**** no.
We don't need any stinking phablets from Apple.
Kind of agree. The 5.5" iPhone 6 is huge. I hope it isn't the flagship iPhone with the better camera, better image stabilization, and better display. That would be like punishing people who use normal sized phones. If the 5.5" and 4.7" iPhone have feature parity, outside of display pixel density, then I'll be happy. If not I may keep my iPhone 5 for a while.
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 01:33 PM   #21
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**** no.
We don't need any stinking phablets from Apple. Or stupidly large iPads.
**** no.
We don't need any of what you (currently like or want)
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 01:34 PM   #22
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Kind of agree. The 5.5" iPhone 6 is huge. I hope it isn't the flagship iPhone with the better camera, better image stabilization, and better display. That would be like punishing people who use normal sized phones. If the 5.5" and 4.7" iPhone have feature parity, outside of display pixel density, then I'll be happy. If not I may keep my iPhone 5 for a while.
I agree that we need size choice and even more strongly agree that features should not be tied to screen size. I want the 4.7" version because I want a much bigger screen than I have with my 4s, but not too big. Has nothing to do with paying for the best model. The feature that is most important to me beyond the screen size is the camera as it is now all I use for photo's and video. Definitely hope they don't tie the two together.
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 02:04 PM   #23
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I agree that we need size choice and even more strongly agree that features should not be tied to screen size. I want the 4.7" version because I want a much bigger screen than I have with my 4s, but not too big. Has nothing to do with paying for the best model. The feature that is most important to me beyond the screen size is the camera as it is now all I use for photo's and video. Definitely hope they don't tie the two together.
Exactly how I feel. The 5.5" inch model would be way too big for me but I'm all for having the choice. I just don't want the 5.5" one to have a significantly better camera and storage choices than the 4.7" one I tentatively plan to get. Or put another way, I want the best camera Apple has to offer, regardless of phone size.
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 02:33 PM   #24
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The 5.5" iPhone 6 is huge.
To you. The Android crowd is accustomed to 5" to 6" screens and have seen a lot of phones with 6" and bigger screens. To them, 5.5" may seem small and 4.7" may seem "too small". Perhaps Apple is after the market beyond those they've made accustomed to 4" as the current "perfect" screen size? So they woo the bigger-screen Android crowd with the 5.5" and woo "us" to 4.7"… though some of "us"- like me- will ONLY go with 5.5".
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 03:06 PM   #25
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At this rate, 1nm will be here before too long. Crazy what that day will bring us!
Or, not. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Tick-Tock There are some fundamental limits of physics we hit ~5nm when using full atoms to create transistors. We need some new (sub-atomic) paradigms to keep Moore's Law going ...
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