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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
By Christian Zibreg on Aug 26, 2015
Samsung lifted trade secrets from rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), the world’s #1 independent semiconductor foundry, Taiwan’s top court has ruled.
According to a report published Wednesday by Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes, the court has determined that Liang Mong-song, a former senior director of research and development at TSMC, revealed TSMC’s trade secrets and patents related to its advanced FinFET process technology to Samsung Electronics.
The report makes no mention of Apple, but the connection couldn’t be clearer: Samsung might have been able to leverage the stolen secrets to win orders for Apple’s next-generation ‘A9’ processor. Prior reports have posited that both Samsung and TSMC got to build Apple’s A9 chips on the advanced 14-nanometer FinFET process technology which uses entirely new three-dimensional transistors. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jul 16, 2015
Volume production of an Apple-designed next-generation “A9” chip, the engine that will power the next iPhone and iPad, has begun at facilities operated by Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s largest independent semiconductor foundry.
According to a report published Friday by DigiTimes, a semi-accurate Taiwanese trade publication, the two rivals get to share orders and both have now started volume production of the chips.
Supply chain sources interviewed by The Wall Street Journal estimate Apple’s ordered a record 80 million units of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus units by the end of 2015. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jun 11, 2015
A new rumor from Asia suggests that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), one of the world’s largest semiconductor foundries, is ready to kick off mass production of Apple’s in-house designed ‘A9’ mobile processor for the new iPhones, tentatively called an ‘iPhone 6s’ and ‘iPhone 6s Plus’.
At the same time, another rumor from Apple’s supply chain has reaffirmed that 2015 iPhones will have a chassis made from 7000 Series aluminum, a custom alloy the Cupertino firm originally developed for the Apple Watch Sport. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on May 26, 2015
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), the world’s largest dedicated independent semiconductor foundry, is apparently scheduled to finish its 10-nanometer pilot production line by the end of June, with Taiwanese media suggesting that the new facilities will churn out an Apple-designed ‘A10’ processor said to power an ‘iPhone 7’ and other iOS devices due in 2016. Read More
By Jake Smith on Apr 2, 2015
Bloomberg reports Samsung has been chosen by Apple to make chips for the next iPhone, taking the business from Taiwan Semiconductor.
Samsung has reclaimed its spot as Apple’s supplier. TSMC made the chips for the iPhone 6, however before that, Samsung’s chips were king for iPhones. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Mar 26, 2015
TSMC, or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited, is expected to remain the major supplier of Apple’s in-house designed processors for the upcoming iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
In addition, the world’s largest independent semiconductor foundry is said to supply 20-nanomenter chips for an upcoming iPhone 6c model, expected to arrive as Apple’s new entry-level iPhone with a price tag between $400 and $500.
An Apple-designed system-on-a-chip for the next-generation iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models should be called the ‘A9’ and will be built on TSMC’s 16-nanometer FinFET process technology, industry sources told DigiTimes. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jan 15, 2015
Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) on Thursday announced record profits in the fourth quarter of 2014 buoyed by its lucrative chip-making deal with Apple for the new iPhones.
In addition, the firm announced migrating to a much finer 10-nanometer process technology this year after being among the first to adopt 20-nanometer chip-making technology in 2014.
According to KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi-Kuo, TSMC would not only pick up 100 percent of orders for Apple’s “A9X” chip, which should be used in an iPad refresh this Fall, but also get to produce an “S2” processor for a second-generation Apple Watch and an “A10” chip that should power a 2016 iPhone model, likely to be called “iPhone 7”. Read More