iPhone 9

In time for iPhone 9, TSMC’s 7nm tech moving to volume production in 2018

Chip foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), which counts Apple as its biggest client, is ready to move its cutting-edge seven-nanometer process technology to volume production in 2018.

According to DigiTimes, an improved version of TSMC's seven-nanometer process using extreme ultraviolet technology will be ready for volume production in 2018, according to company co-CEO CC Wei.

The firm's five-nanometer node is slated to enter risk production in 2019, Wei added.

TSMC currently makes A10 chips for iPhone 7 and is said to be exclusively churning out the upcoming Apple-designed A11 processors for iPhone 8 and other 2017 iOS devices.

TSMC in April reportedly began stockpiling A11 chips for 2017 iPhones.

The firm should step up its pace of inventory building from June onward, said industry sources.

iPhone 8's A11 system-on-a-chip should be built on TSMC's ten-nanometer process technology, yielding faster performance and lower power consumption.

The A11 Fusion chip inside iPhone 7 is being manufactured on TSMC's 16-nanometer node.

Apple is building a brand new chip dedicated to artificial intelligence and machine learning, Bloomberg said recently, but it's unclear if the new chip will make its way into iPhone 8.

Samsung reportedly signs new deal for OLED panel production for iPhone 9

The Korea Herald is reporting today that Samsung Display, the display-making unit of Samsung Electronics, recently signed yet another deal to build OLED panels for future iPhones. With up to 180 million screens demanded by the iPhone maker, this deal indicates that Apple is laying the groundwork for a much wider adoption of OLED panels in future iPhones.

The new deal is focused on supplying OLED panels for the new iPhone next year, tentatively called “iPhone 9”. To build OLEDs in 5.28 and 6.46-inch sizes, the conglomerate will break ground on a new factory in the South Chungcheong Province in South Korea.

The mentioned 6.46-inch size may point to a future iOS device, potentially due in 2018.

“The two companies have recently signed a non-disclosure agreement on general conditions, including the screen size,” said a source. “Other details such as screen design and functions could be adjusted considering the phone is still under development.”

Samsung Display is already supplying 80 million OLED screens for iPhone 8 this year. iPhone 8 is said to feature a 5.8-inch OLED screen with an active display area of 5.1 inches.

Image: CNC-machined iPhone 8 dummy via Benjamin Geskin