Processor production troubles could delay new iPads scheduled for March

Processor production troubles could delay new iPads scheduled for March
Back in August, we heard that Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer TSMC received orders from Apple to produce 10nm chips for its 2017 iPhone models. Earlier, reports suggested that TSMC could be the exclusive manufacturer of Apple's A10 and A11 processors. This makes TSMC a major supplier of the chips powering Apple's mobile devices and charges the company with delivering the orders on time, as to keep to the desired product launch schedule.

A DigiTimes report suggests that TSMC wants to start mass-producing A10X processors for upcoming new iPad models in the beginning of 2017, but the initial yields have been insufficient, which could interfere with Apple's schedule. It's understandable why the iPhone and iPad maker wishes to take advantage of the 10 nanometer manufacturing process for the A10X, as it would result in a smaller and more power-efficient chip.

Rumors claim that Apple will be launching three new iPads in March next year. There will be updates to the 9.7- and 12.9-inch models, along with a new 10.5-inch variant. The 10.5-inch model will tackle the enterprise and education sectors in the United States, as the 9.7-inch one is deemed too small, while the 12.9-inch iPad is too big and expensive. The 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch variants are expected to be powered by the new A10X processor, while the 9.7-inch model will become an entry-level option.

It isn't known how the TSMC troubles might reflect on the iPads' launch schedule. Hopefully, the chip manufacturer will be able to sort out its production woes in time for the planned March rollout.

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18 Comments

1. ctdog4748

Posts: 797; Member since: Mar 05, 2016

TSMC is a great group with a lot of brilliant people, unfortunately for them Samsung has the benefit of making all their chip components in house, that kind of insanely fast and cost effective turn time is virtually impossible to compete with. I done believe Samsung will be getting a call from Apple soon.

18. cheetah2k

Posts: 2288; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

TSMC is their own worst enemy. They hype up stuff, then can't deliver. Its been this since the beginning of time. They only advantage they have over Samsung is cost - yes they are cheaper, but not by much. Are they better? No but that won't stop Apple saving a buck or 2 for profit instead of quality.. All I can say, is sucks to be an Apple fan, when they keep taking profit over quality components..

20. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1185; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

Better or not, the a9 SoC(s) Samsung supplied performed worse compared to the TSMC ones. The logical thing to do would be get from TSMc for the next batch. I don't see how Samsung is better, as much as I can tell, they are pretty much on the same level while intel leads the pack. Though Intel has yet to put out 10nm processors, but hey, Intel 14nm beats every other manufacturers on the market, I bet their 10nm would too. Anyway, back to the topic. Samsung is great but they could not deliver good performance during a9, that's why Apple didn't choose them for the a10. Not because TSMC is cheaper.

2. airoid

Posts: 132; Member since: Dec 13, 2016

Come to papa Samesong son .. problems solved.

6. Kumar123 unregistered

Papa Samesong is also having trouble with their 10nm production. LOL ^.^http://wccftech.com/tsmc-samsung-10nm-yield/

7. Genza

Posts: 576; Member since: Mar 12, 2014

Hahaha... it seems samsung not only having trouble but also samsung’s yield is even lower than that of TSMC.

8. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

TSMC is better anyway lol.

10. vincelongman

Posts: 5745; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

That's likely, but remains to be seen TSMC's 16FF+/FFC was better than Samsung's 14LPP TSMC's 16FF was better than Samsung's 14LPE Samsung's 20nm was better than TSMC's 20nm Samsung's 28nm was better than TSMC's 28nm

11. Macready

Posts: 1829; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

I'm still not convinced that TSMC's 16FF was better. Cheaper for Apple? Likely. But there are still conflicting reports about which was more efficient and/or faster. In Tom's Hardware comparison, the Samsung chip pulled ahead for example (ran cooler, more power efficient and a hair faster). So there are different tests with opposing results, pointing at what looks like a wash (margin of production and test errors). http://www.tomshardware.com/news/iphone-6s-a9-samsung-vs-tsmc,30306.html

13. vincelongman

Posts: 5745; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Its about 10% according to Andrei from AnandTech (sorry I forgot the source) But its different for each chip due to the silicon lottery Tom's Hardware probably had gotten a high bin Samsung chip and a lower bin Apple chip I believe there's no way to check on iOS

12. Macready

Posts: 1829; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

I doubt that Samsung's yields are lower or the S8 would have to be equipped with a different chip or delayed many months. Samsung still sells far more Exynos S phones than Apple sells of the latest model iPads the first months after release. It does make sense that Samsung prioritizes the S8 production though. Similar to how Qualcomm 14nm chip production was delayed because the Exynos 7420 was prioritized.

17. Genza

Posts: 576; Member since: Mar 12, 2014

Don't try to be a smart @$$ because i'm 99% sure that he/she "the source" know better than both of us or anyone n the comments sections.

19. cheetah2k

Posts: 2288; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

Taiwan media.. LOL! Find a more reliable source

3. yonith

Posts: 228; Member since: Sep 11, 2012

I command Apple to release an iPad Mini 5!!!

5. hado86

Posts: 177; Member since: Oct 15, 2014

This will probably just push back global release like in the past. Hoping for a MacBook 12 refresh too.

9. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I was finally going to get an iPad but Apple better not downgrade the 9.7in just to make the 10.5in look good. The 9.7in should get the same ram and soc as the 10.5in does or I...I..I will be sad :~(

15. ph00ny

Posts: 2065; Member since: May 26, 2011

Surprise surprise, another day of TSMC yield issues. How many times have they screwed over Nvidia and their flagship launches because of this?

16. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I just got my Pro, and won't be buying another iPad for at least 2 years, so I'm good.

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