Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has signed a deal to produce 20, 16 and 10nm chips for Apple, according to industry sources.
Apple has just signed a three year deal with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and its IC partner Global UniChip to produce Apple’s next A-series chipsets with 20, 16 and 10nm process nodes. Neither TSMC nor Global UniChip have commented upon the deal, but they will begin producing the new Apple A8 chip in low volumes as early as July. In December of this year, production capabilities for TSMC will scale up significantly on the 20nm chips, when they begin installing new fabrication equipment. By the first quarter of 2014 they will be capable of processing 50,000 circuit wafers. This equipment can later be upgraded to also produce 16nm chips.
The A8 chip will find its way into next generation iPhones scheduled for release in early 2014. TSMC is expected to begin production of Apple A9 and A9X processors towards the end of that year, and those processors will eventually end up in future iPhone and iPad products. TSMC’s phase-4, -5 and -6 facilities at it’s south Taiwan manufacturing plant will be dedicated to making the Apple A-series chips, with an estimated initial output of 6,000 to 10,000 12-inch wafers, with production scaling up next year.
Currently, there is no word on whether TSMC will be the sole manufacturer of Apple processors.