TSMC Expected to Remain Exclusive Supplier of 'A13' Chip Orders for 2019 iPhones

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 23, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Taiwanese manufacturer TSMC will likely remain Apple's contract chipmaker next year, as the exclusive supplier of "A13" chips for 2019 iPhones, according to industry analysts cited in a report by the EE Times.

    TSMC has been Apple's exclusive supplier of A-series chips since 2016, fulfilling all orders for the A10 Fusion chip in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and the A11 Bionic chip in the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. Multiple reports indicate TSMC will also be the exclusive supplier of the "A12" chip in 2018 iPhones.

    TSMC's packaging offerings are widely considered to be superior to that of other chipmakers, including Samsung and Intel, so it won't be surprising if that exclusivity continues with the "A13" chip in 2019.

    TSMC has been gradually shrinking the size of its dies over the years as it continues to refine its manufacturing process: A10 Fusion is 16nm, A11 Bionic is 10nm, and this year's "A12" is expected to be a 7nm chip. The "A13" will likely be a 7nm+ chip with extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV), with volume production expected to begin in the second quarter of 2019, in time for a fall iPhone launch next year.

    Beyond that, TSMC recently confirmed that it plans to invest $25 billion towards volume production of 5nm chips by 2020, so there's a good chance that Apple will rely on the Taiwanese chipmaker for the foreseeable future.

    TSMC's favor with Apple comes at the expense of Samsung, which was the exclusive manufacturer of iPhone processors for many years, starting with the ARM11 chip in the original iPhone through to the A7 chip in the iPhone 5s. TSMC manufactured the A8 chip in 2014, and TSMC and Samsung shared A9 chip orders in 2015.

    Samsung isn't backing down easily, however, as DigiTimes last month reported that the South Korean company is developing its own InFO packaging technology. Samsung claims to have outpaced TSMC in kicking off official production of 7nm+ with EUV, seeking to win back orders from Apple in 2019.

    As far as how this all impacts customers, Apple's industry-leading mobile chip designs and TSMC's continued packaging advancements are beneficial for the performance, battery life, and thermal management of future iPhones.

    Article Link: TSMC Expected to Remain Exclusive Supplier of 'A13' Chip Orders for 2019 iPhones
  2. Baymowe335 macrumors 603

    Oct 6, 2017
    Was there ever a doubt? The chips are beasts and continue to improve.

    TSMC seems to produce good yields and is reliable at the execution.
  3. skinned66 macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    I'm ok with this. I have a TSMC chip in my 6S and my geekbench benchmarks consistently rate hundreds of points higher than the 6S average.
  4. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Oooft, 7nm chips. I'm so happy I was born in the generation I was. It's been brilliant to see the evolution of technology.
  5. bodonnell202 macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2016
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    The A8 is also manufactured by TSMC using their 20 nm process.
  6. djcerla macrumors 68000


    Apr 23, 2015
  7. Andres Cantu macrumors 68030

    Andres Cantu

    May 31, 2015
    Rio Grande Valley in South Texas
    TSMC does a good job. And while having two suppliers minimizes risk, we’ve seen in the past that the differences between the hardware can be significant even when they shouldn’t (A9 chip, iPhone 7/8/X modem).
  8. iapplelove macrumors 601


    Nov 22, 2011
    East Coast USA
    Crazy we are already speculating the fall of next year.
  9. dominiongamma macrumors 68000

    Oct 19, 2014
    Tempe, Arizona
    Wait till we get to 1 nm or less ;-)
  10. 69Mustang macrumors 604


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    The tech is mind blowing. But...

    Does 7nm actually mean 7nm? Afaik most chip architecture numbers are more sizzle than steak. Using the actual die size doesn't negate the accomplishments, but marketing I guess.
  11. zep0008 Suspended


    Oct 6, 2017
  12. iPhysicist macrumors 65816


    Nov 9, 2009

    The **nm process always means the gate size of the transistor. Other structures are not that small.
  13. Vanilla35 macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2013
    Washington D.C.
    Anyone have any idea what camera improvements we're expecting this year? Mostly only had software improvements the last couple years.
  14. DNichter macrumors G3


    Apr 27, 2015
    Philadelphia, PA
    TSMC has been killing it when it comes to the A series chips. No reason to make a change. You certainly don't want anything to do with them in the hands of Samsung if possible.
  15. dBeats macrumors 6502a


    Jun 21, 2011
    You can win back the orders a lot easier if you stop making commercials that mock the device you'd apparently love to make chips for.
  16. mtneer macrumors 68030


    Sep 15, 2012
    Are there any details about this "Info" packaging somewhere? What makes it so special?
  17. Woodcrest64 macrumors 65816


    Aug 14, 2006
    I don't think you will see the bigger improvements regarding the camera until 2019 which is rumoured to be when Apple releases a triple rear camera system. This year will focus on the new screen size offerings. The triple lens setup should allow for much better low light performance if one camera/sensor offers black and white.

    The question is whether Apple keeps this Triple camera system exclusively to the larger Plus size or not.
  18. mcfrazieriv macrumors 6502a


    Jan 30, 2012
    Irvine, CA
    A14 fofonic fanananana lonic chip in every iPhone XIV - by Dr. Cook.
  19. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    You can’t. Transistors are about to reach a few atoms thin. At this point voltage leak will make smaller transistors not viable.

    We have to migrate from Silicone very soon. Why do you think the jump from 120um to 20um was relatively fast? But the jump to 12 to 7 has been painstakingly slow?
  20. twistedpixel8 macrumors 6502


    Jun 9, 2017
  21. Sevanw Suspended


    Sep 13, 2014
    Too bad the A12 will be made with inferior processing against Samsung's process for 7nm. I'm guessing Apple prefers price over quality.
  22. Feenician macrumors 603


    Jun 13, 2016
    Too bad you didn't actually read the linked Digitimes article noting TSMC's lead at 7nm and 5nm, and noting Samsung are playing catch up.
  23. ksec macrumors 6502a

    Dec 23, 2015
    They did, until it didn't work. That is why they had to bring 8nm up. ( Which is actually an improved version of their 10nm ). TSMC isn't going with EUV until 5nm, which is scheduled for 2020 iPhone. And from the looks of All relationship and roadmaps, I think Apple will stick to TSMC till 3nm, currently scheduled for 2021/2022.

    ( In case you are wondering, TSMC 3nm is roughly the same or slightly better than Intel 7nm, )

    Samsung could have taken a pieces from Apple if they offer their 5G Modem in 8nm. I think that is the easiest way for Samsung and Apple deal.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 23, 2018 ---
    Some people just don't read... sigh.
  24. WoodpeckerBaby macrumors 6502


    Aug 17, 2016
    As an Electrical Engineering student, I can tell you that 7 nm chipset lithography means all the tiny circuits and wires are 7 nm thin. That's 7 x 10^-9 meters.
  25. Sevanw Suspended


    Sep 13, 2014
    Seriously, try to read articles that aren't only quoted on an Apple site. TSMC went for being first with older tech and an inferior process over a superior process. This isn't opinion, it's a fact in the industry.

    You say, "Some people just don't read... Sigh"

    My sentiments exactly. Try to venture beyond the Apple bubble to get your news in the industry.


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