TSMC to start mass producing 10nm chips nearly a year ahead of Intel

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 30, 2016

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), which builds Apple’s in-house designed A10 Fusion chip that powers the iPhone 7, has confirmed mass production of ten-nanometer chips for clients will kick off by year-end, beating Intel by almost a year in terms of high-performance silicon.

Chip maker Intel’s own ten-nanometer chips are due in second half of 2017. Read More


Intel could begin fabricating iPhone and iPad chips as early as 2018

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 26, 2016

Both in-house designed ‘A10’ and ‘A11’ chips for this year’s iPhone 7 and 2017 iPhones/iPads, respectively, are believed to be manufactured solely by Taiwan’s semiconductor foundry TSMC (sorry, Samsung).

According to Nikkei Asian Review, Intel is now perfectly poised to give TSMC a good run for its money in as little as two years because any Apple chips after the A10/A11 should be fabricated by Intel.

The recently signed licensing deal between Intel and UK-based ARM Holdings lets the former fabricate chips for smartphones based on the latter’s CPU technology. Read More


TSMC to build Apple’s in-house designed AMOLED driver chips for 10th Anniversary iPhone

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 17, 2016

TSMC is believed to have secured orders for an Apple-designed ‘A11’ system-on-a-chip expected to power so-called Tenth Anniversary iPhone and new iPads in 2017, trade publication DigiTimes reports. The chip should be fabricated on TSMC’s ten-nanometer process technology and use its backend integrated fan-out (InFO) wafer-level packaging technology. Additionally, TSMC should build Apple-designed circuitry to drive 2017 iPhone’s AMOLED panel. Read More


DigiTimes: TSMC to build 16nm Apple Watch 2 chip

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 10, 2016

An Apple-designed ‘S2’ system-in-package that will power a second-generation Apple Watch won’t be produced by Samsung, like the original Apple Watch’s S1 chip. According to a new report by Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes, semiconductor foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has managed to beat Samsung in securing S2 orders. In fact, both the second-generation Apple Watch and an enhanced version of the original Apple Watch will be driven by the S2 chip, built using TSMC’s 16-nanometer process technology. Read More


TSMC reportedly wins exclusive contract to build A11 chips for 2017 iPhones and iPads

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 19, 2016

Citing a story in the Chinese-language Economic Daily News newspaper, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes reported yesterday that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will be the sole supplier of an Apple-designed ‘A11’ chip, which should power 2017 iPhone and iPad models.

In other words, Samsung could be on the outs for the next two generations of iPhone processors as both this year’s A10 and next year’s A11 are now said to be exclusively manufactured by TSMC. The A11 chip will be built on the foundry’s cutting-edge ten-nanometer FinFET process. Read More


TSMC’s Q3 revenue expected to climb to a record high on strong iPhone 7 A10 chip orders

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 11, 2016

Citing market forecasts quoted by the Commercial Times newspaper, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes reported Monday that shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC) could hit record levels thanks to orders for the Apple-designed ‘A10’ system-on-a-chip, the engine that will drive the next iPhone and iPad. TSMC just posted strong numbers for the second financial quarter. Read More


iPhone 7 ‘A10’ chip orders to help grow TSMC’s quarterly revenue by 20 percent

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 30, 2016

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s top semiconductor foundry which Apple has commissioned to build ‘A10’ processors for the next iPhone alongside Samsung, is expected to grow its revenue substantially in the third quarter of this year thanks to these orders.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency, quoted by trade publication DigiTimes, said this morning that TSMC is reportedly forecast to grow revenues almost twenty percent sequentially in its third quarter “as shipments for Apple’s A10 processors will kick off soon”. Read More


iPhone chip maker TSMC to spend a massive $2.2 billion on R&D this year

By Christian Zibreg on May 26, 2016

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), the world’s largest independent chip foundry, has set aside a research and development budget for this year of a record-setting $2.2 billion in order to ensure its fabrication process technology stays ahead of competition, said a report this morning in Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes. In 2015, the firm spent just $1.067 billion on R&D. Read More


DigiTimes: Intel to supply at least half of iPhone 7’s faster LTE cellular modems

By Christian Zibreg on May 17, 2016

Rumors continue to swirl that Intel had been commissioned to build LTE modem chips for Apple’s upcoming smartphone refresh, a marquee win for the semiconductor giant.

Tuesday, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes reported that Intel may supply up to fifty percent of LTE modems for the forthcoming iPhone 7 models.

Although Intel itself will package the modems, the chips will be mass-produced by contract manufacturers TSMC and KYEC, as per DigiTimes, indicating that the iPhone 7’s ‘A10’ system-on-a-chip may integrate an Intel-built LTE modem. These Intel-designed LTE modems for the iPhone 7 are said to be faster than those in the iPhone 6s. Read More


Design of Apple’s ‘A11’ chip for 2017 iPhones and iPads has been finalized

By Christian Zibreg on May 6, 2016

Taiwanese component makers are currently scrambling to fulfill orders as the Cupertino firm is getting ready to kick off production of this year’s upcoming iPhones and iPads.

Moreover, Apple’s engineers should now be close to completing work on a 2017 iPhone and have certainly been developing a 2018 iPhone for some time now.

Trade publication DigiTimes wrote in a new report that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), a foundry that builds chips for Apple, has now taped out an Apple-designed ‘A11’ chip that will power 2017 iPhones and iPads. Read More


iPhone 8 might run a cutting-edge 7nm processor

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 16, 2016

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), the world’s top semiconductor foundry, and ARM holdings plc, a British multinational fabless semiconductor designer, have joined forces to make an upcoming 7-nanometer FinFET process a reality in time for volume production in early-2017.

TSMC currently manufactures the iPhone 6s’s A9 chip on its 16-nanometer process, while Samsung-made A9 chips are fabbed on a smaller 14-nanometer process.

The timing of TSMC’s seven-nanometer FinFET process suggests it might be used to fabricate Apple-designed ‘A11’ processors for the iPhone 8 in 2017. By comparison, Intel has said it will produce 10nm node processors in the second half of 2017. Read More


TSMC to be sole supplier of processors for iPhone 7, report says

By Cody Lee on Feb 10, 2016

A new report late Wednesday claims that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company will be the exclusive supplier of mobile processors for Apple’s next generation iPhone. The news comes from South Korea’s Electronic Times, via Reuters, who cites unnamed sources within the industry.

ET says that TSMC beat out rival, and long-time Apple chip-maker, Samsung for the job thanks to its ability to scale its 10-nanometer process. Their report lines up with previous analyst predictions, who felt TSMC would take 100% of Apple’s next-gen chip orders thanks to its InFO chip tech. Read More


Analysts are confident that TSMC will grab 100% of Apple’s chipset business in 2016

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 10, 2015

Although the present-generation A9 and A9X processors are being built by both Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC) and Samsung, it appears that Samsung will be left out entirely from the lucrative contract to build the forthcoming A10 chipset for 2016 iOS devices.

Barron’s on Thursday cited analyst Bonil Koo with investment bank UBS as saying that all A10 orders will be exclusively handled by TSMC, posing a major problem for Samsung. Read More


Decoding iPhone 7 chip architecture…

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 23, 2015

Apple is thought to become the first customer that will take advantage of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s (TSMC) InFO chip manufacturing process in building in-house designed A10 chips for 2016 iOS devices, potentially allowing it to trim some fat off the next iPhone model.

Taking a step back to take a look at the bigger picture, we analyze Apple’s chip efforts thus far and make educated guesses as to what advances in terms of silicon design and integration the next iPhone might allow.

We’ll also reflect on how having the foresight to take its chip destiny into its own hands more than five years ago has helped Apple differentiate itself from competition. Read More


Analyst predicts 100% of Apple’s A10 chip orders will be handled by TSMC

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 16, 2015

Bad news for Samsung as rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has been predicted to account for a cool 100 percent of orders for Apple’s next-generation A10 processor expect to serve as the powerful engine for 2016 iPhones and iPads.

Taiwanese media quoted a JP Morgan analyst as saying that Samsung will be left out entirely from the lucrative contract to build these chipsets. The current A9 and A9X processors are being built by both TSMC and Samsung. Read More


How to check if you have TSMC or Samsung chip in your iPhone 6s

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 8, 2015

For the first time ever, Apple has dual-sourced the engine that drives the new handsets from more than one supplier. Both Samsung and rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) won contracts to build the Apple-designed ‘A9’ system-on-a-chip for the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

While these chips offer literally the same compute and graphics power, both synthetic benchmarks and real-life tests have shown small yet notable difference in terms of battery as the TSCM-built A9 appears to be more power efficient than its Samsung counterpart.

The question is, does your brand spanking new iPhone 6s have the TSMC or Samsung-built chip? You can find that out in just a few simple steps, let me show you how. Read More


Samsung-built A9 chip in iPhone 6s found to drain battery faster than TSMC one, Apple doesn’t really agree

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 8, 2015

Does your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus come outfitted with Samsung or TSMC-built A9 processor? The answer to that question could determine how long your device will run before its battery needs recharging.

Your key takeaway is this: while the dual-sourced chips perform identically in synthetic Geekbench tests in terms of sheer CPU compute power and GPU performance, there’s a marked difference in observed battery life ranging from six to eleven percent.

You could argue the difference is barely felt in day-to-day use, but I beg to differ: energy efficiency is paramount for mobile devices and the battery-friendlier the main processor is, the longer it will run on a single charge. Read More


How to check if you have a Samsung or TSMC A9 processor inside of your iPhone 6s

By Jeff Benjamin on Sep 30, 2015

You’ve probably heard that Apple is using A9 processors from two different sources for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. One processor is from Samsung, and the other is from TSMC.

It’s been confirmed via benchmarks that both processors perform similarly with no major differences in performance. With that said, each processor features a different die size, which was first noted by Chipworks. The Samsung processor is the smaller of the two. Physically, it’s 96mm squared, while the TSMC A9 is 104.5 mm squared.

Chipworks conjectures that two different sources were used due to supply constraints. They also say that they are further researching both processors in an effort to gain better clarity.

Ultimately, it really doesn’t mean much to the end user, but I know that curiosity gets the best of us at times. If you’d like to check to see who sourced your A9 processor, you can follow these simple steps. Read More


Semiconductor analysis confirms iPhone 6s ‘A9’ chip manufactured by Samsung and TSMC

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2015

An initial analysis of the Apple-designed A9 system-on-a-chip powering the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, conducted by semiconductor experts over at Chipworks, has identified both Samsung and rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company as manufacturers of the package.

What’s really interesting is that the A9 comes in two sizes, depending on who manufactured it, with the Samsung-built units being a bit smaller than those manufactured by TSMC. This is the first time an Apple-designed processor for an iPhone came in two different sizes. Read More


Apple reportedly commissions TSMC to exclusively build in-house designed ‘A10’ chips for ‘iPhone 7’

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 14, 2015

The iPhone 6s featuring Apple’s in-house designed ‘A9’ microchip is yet to start shipping but the firm’s already commissioned Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to build a next-generation ‘A10’ package expected to power 2016 iOS devices like an ‘iPhone 7,’ third-generation iPad Air and second-generation iPad Pro, according to supply chain chatter Monday. Read More

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