Apple’s expected to stick with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) as its sole provider of application processors for iPhone and iPad at least for the next two years. The chip maker has been providing products to Apple since at least 2014.
According to EE Times, Apple and TSMC remain committed to one another for the upcoming iOS device cycles, despite some concerns on both sides. Way back in September 2017, you might recall, it was announced that the company would provide Apple with the all-new “A12” chip that’s expected to arrive on this year’s iPhone models.
By relying solely on TSMC for its application processors, Apple isn’t enjoying the flexibility or ease that a backup supplier could provide. Additionally, by depending on Apple to fill up to 80 percent of its 7nm capacity each year, TSMC could find itself hurting if the day comes when the iPhone maker looks elsewhere.
Nonetheless, most don’t expect the relationship to end anytime soon.
“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.
Credit Suisse analyst Randy Abrams, who was the first to say TSMC would likely remain Apple’s sole source for processors until 2020 agreed, noting:
Apple and TSMC have mutually benefited to date from the relationship; Apple has been able to have annual upgrades to its processors, and TSMC has a very large anchor customer to bring it up to scale on its new nodes.
In the coming weeks, Apple’s expected to announce three new iPhones for 2018. This should include a second-generation 5.8-inch iPhone X, all-new 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus, and a new 6.1-inch LCD iPhone. Two new iPad Pros are also expected to debut very soon.