Apple’s favorite chip foundry, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), is about to kick off volume production of a new Apple-designed A11 chip widely expected to serve as the engine for new iOS devices this year, including an all-new iPhone 8 with an OLED display and the iterative iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus with LCD screens.
According to Economic Daily News, cited by DigiTimes, the A11 chips will be fabbed on TSMC’s ten-nanometer FinFET manufacturing process with a wafer-level integrated fan-out technology, resulting in smaller, faster chips that consume less power.
TSMC will churn out 100 million A11 chips by the end of this year and is preparing a capacity for production of 50 million A11 units before July, as previously reported.
Moving to a smaller process technology will yield speed boost and lower power consumption. That’s because as the individual transistors get positioned closer together, the electrons travel a shorter distance. Smaller process technologies also result in smaller dies, helping reduce a chip’s thermal output.
By way of comparison, iPhone 7’s A10 Fusion chip is being manufactured on TSMC’s sixteen-nanometer FinFET process. Thanks to strong sales of the iPhone 7 series, the A10 contract has helped TSMC post record profits.
On a related note, the semiconductor foundry is expected to make the decision on building a $16 billion chip factory in the United States sometime in 2018.