First Apple A10 rumors put TSMC as the exclusive maker, the chip is said to be a 16nm FinFET one

First Apple A10 rumors put TSMC as the exclusive maker, the chip is said to be a 16nm FinFET one
As the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, as well as the long-rumored 12.9" iPad Pro are now official, we all turn our heads towards the next year, when Apple's expected to unveil the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Provided that the 6s and 6s Plus are not even out yet, it's extremely early to spin the rumor roulette about the upcoming iPhone generation, as we probably have roughly a year before they will get unveiled.

Yet, one of the first rumors regarding the next-gen iPhone has just hit us. According to Commercial Times, a Chinese newspaper, the Taiwan-based TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) will be the exclusive manufacturer behind Apple's next mobile chipset, the Apple A10 SoC. According to the rumor mill, it will be a 64-bit chip based on TSMC's in-house 16nm FinFET manufacturing process, while the WLP (wafer-level packaging) of the chip will also be TSMC's own backend integrated fan-out (InFO) one.

Back in March 2015, we told you that TSMC is expected to score as much as 70% of the Apple A9 chip orders, but according to newer tidbits of information, TSMC and Samsung have split the production of the silicon in two equal parts, each taking 50% of Apple's orders. As a refresher, the Apple A9 is manufactured on either a 14nm or 16nm manufacturing process.

Interestingly, a few months ago we told you that TSMC is testing its own 10nm chips that would give it advantage over Samsung in the race for more Apple A10 orders. We don't know whether TSMC's tests have been successful - if they have been, it might be speculated that the Apple A10 could turn out to be a 10nm chipset.

Still, TSMC was also rumored to be the sole manufacturer of A9 chips, but this turned out to be untrue, so we will take the new rumors about the Taiwanese chip maker's exclusive securing of all A10 orders with a bit of salt. Yet, we shouldn't rule out the possibility that Samsung won't be among the makers of the Apple A10. 

source: Commercial Times via DiGiTimes

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27 Comments

1. karamelakimo

Posts: 109; Member since: May 26, 2014

damm to rumors , we didn't even test A9 yet lol :D

3. MSi_GS70 unregistered

Crazy yes..

2. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

I don't expect any 10nm SoCs in 2016 Intel delayed theirs to 2017, they are usually first Samsung's is entering "full production" at the end of 2016 (I don't think we will see finished products until 2017, maybe the S8 first, but won't be surprise the first is the Note 7) TSMC's 10nm is expected to enter risk production some time later this year For TSMC, it usually take 2 years after the start of risk production before we see a finished product e.g. TSMC's 20nm went into risk production in H2 2012, we didn't see a finished product until Apple's A8 in H2 2014http://www.tsmc.com/uploadfile/ir/BusinessRelease/TSMC%20Announces%20Move%20to%2020nm%20Process%20_E.pdf

4. wargreymon

Posts: 764; Member since: Nov 05, 2013

Even if Samsung were before Intel to 10nm, it wouldn't be true 10nm, just like how Samsung 14nm isn't a true 14nm, but a mix of 14nm and 20nm.

5. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

I believe that's the first time Samsung mixed FEOL and BEOL Intel and TSMC have done that in the past too Of the top of my head, some examples Intel's 22nm and TSMC's 16nm We don't know anything about Samsung's 10nm It could be 10nm and 10nm It could be 7nm and 10nm It could be 10nm and 20nm

13. Shubham412302

Posts: 569; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

18. guest

Posts: 371; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

Vaporware. Who's going to build it? GloFo? LOL

27. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Right now Intel/Samsung/TSMC/IBM/GF could make 10nm CPUs if they wanted They definitely have in their labs, maybe even 7nm or 5nm as well But it wouldn't be profitable for them and they wouldn't be able to produce enough of them

19. guest

Posts: 371; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

As an Intel investor I am happy to read this rumor. Makes the extra Tock from Intel not sting so bad and makes sense. Maybe we will see Broxton Enhance at 14nm with an extra Tock. So far only the Exynos and A9 has 14nm in the marketplace selling at approximately $30 that doesn't amount to much revenue or profit to push 10nm. Does this warrant the breakneck pace to chase Intel? The economics don't make sense but I am happy to watch Samsung and TSM try. I wonder who will give up first? I'm thinking TSM but we will see.

6. Iodine

Posts: 1478; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Well I expect more going into lovering power consumtion for the iPhone 7, which will hopefully come with drastically thinner design. So there shouldn't be as huge perofrmance increases as this year. Then why we should even talk about a chip, that is faster than the fastest chip, which isn't even released ? Then we don't know who made A9. My bet is exclusive TSMC just like A8 (and A10 ?). Apple annonced A9 uses new transistor structure (Fin Fet). That may be because they split for production (and took higher production at the cost of some possibly significant performance variability) but I think it was said so to prevent spreading TSMC/samsung marketing BS about "14"/"16" nm proceses.

7. TheGunnyPT

Posts: 252; Member since: Feb 12, 2015

I'm confused about the A9 situation, Are some chips 14nm and others 16nm... or are all done by 16nm because TSMC is limited to 16nm and therefore Sammy must do 16nm

8. Nathillien unregistered

Probably Samsung's are 14nm and TSMC's are 16nm. What will you get buying iPhone 6S? Well you have 50-50 chance of getting the faster one (or the hotter one) LOL

17. guest

Posts: 371; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

I would say TSM got the iPad Pro volume and Samsung got the iPhone volume. This way they wouldn't have to support two slightly different SoC's for the same product

9. Iodine

Posts: 1478; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

For simplicity, 14 nm samsung process and TSMC 16nm process are rather similar. For a bit more depth, they are both just modified 20nm proceses with FinFet transistors.

28. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

For more accurate simplicity TSMC's 16nm is modified 20nm proceses with 20nm FinFet transistors Samsung's 14nm is modified 20nm proceses with 14nm FinFet transistors, capacitors, resistors, ... For more accurate in depth TSMC's 16nm is 20nm FEOL and 20nm BEOL Samsung's 14nm is 14nm FEOL and 20nm BEOL

10. Hallyu

Posts: 790; Member since: Jul 21, 2015

If the rumor turns out true, then Apple makes a wrong decision. Choosing a small company over Samsung who has spent $14b in R&D doesn't make sense. But hey, does it matter for Apple? As we all know they have never included latest hardware on their overpriced iPhones from the beginning.

11. Iodine

Posts: 1478; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

That choose has already turned out to be a runaway sucess with the efficiency and wide availability of A8 and A8X chips. Samsung wasn't even planning to mass produce 20nm and as Apple wanted to use the latest tech, they were forced to TSMC. That contradicts you. And btw which technology the A9 lacks ? It's the fastest and most efficient as it runs out of a small battery, and it could be made at both fabs, but I think it's TSMC exclusive too, so what is Apple loosing when not going to samsung ?

12. Ruturaj

Posts: 1484; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

It lacks latest modem (it always has), best screen ( and resolution) technologies.

30. engineer-1701d unregistered

who said a9 is the fastest

24. vuyonc

Posts: 1089; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

TSMC is the world's largest semiconductor foundry for ARM SoCs. What are you smoking?

32. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

TSMC is big tough, all mediatek, and Quallcomm (except future SD820) made by them.. but samsung is slightly better, since they have tech to make 14nm.. but they still cant mass produce as much as TSMC

14. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

In 30 days we will read Samsung is producing 50% of the chips again because TSMC can't keep up. Or maybe Apple is pissed because they are going to lose their US case to Samsung and will have to pay Samsung all they spent in legal fees to fight the case that Apple should have never won in the first place.

20. Tizo101

Posts: 524; Member since: Jun 05, 2015

so from the A9 they are moving to the A10... is it safe to assume that in about 10 or 11 years they will be launching A20? Highly unlikely (I see a drastic change at some point)

25. shahrooz

Posts: 792; Member since: Sep 17, 2013

Apple will always get the cheapest item which will get the job done properly and in some cases alomost properly.

26. darkkjedii

Posts: 30966; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

TSMC must be code for Samsung.

31. engineer-1701d unregistered

TSMC = The, SaMsung, Company

29. Techielover

Posts: 105; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Here we go again.

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