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

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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.

"As long as TSMC continues to offer something new at leading-edge every year and continues to execute well on yield, I could see Apple remaining sole source on foundry at TSMC for years to come," Arete Research analyst Brett Simpson said in an interview with 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
 
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69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
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In between a rock and a hard place
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.
The tech is mind blowing. But...

7 nm! Mind blowing stuff.
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.
 

DNichter

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Apr 27, 2015
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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.
 

mtneer

macrumors 68030
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Are there any details about this "Info" packaging somewhere? What makes it so special?
 

Woodcrest64

macrumors 65816
Aug 14, 2006
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Anyone have any idea what camera improvements we're expecting this year? Mostly only had software improvements the last couple years.
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.
 

Sevanw

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Too bad the A12 will be made with inferior processing against Samsung's process for 7nm. I'm guessing Apple prefers price over quality.
 

ksec

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Dec 23, 2015
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Samsung claims to have outpaced TSMC in kicking off official production of 7nm+ with EUV, seeking to win back orders from Apple in 2019.
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.
[doublepost=1535041614][/doublepost]
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.
Some people just don't read... sigh.
 
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WoodpeckerBaby

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Aug 17, 2016
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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.
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.
 

Sevanw

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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.
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.
[doublepost=1535041614][/doublepost]

Some people just don't read... sigh.
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.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/samsung-unveils-7nm-technology-with-euv/