TSMC is ahead of schedule on production of 16nm wafers expected for next year's iPhone

TSMC is ahead of schedule on production of 16nm wafers expected for next year's iPhone
With Samsung breathing down its back, TSMC is now planning on producing 50,000 wafers a month using its 16nm process during the first quarter of 2015. The wafers were originally scheduled to be produced in the second quarter of next year, and will be employed in the production of the Apple A9. The latter is the SoC that should be used on next year's version of the Apple iPhone and Apple iPad.

Apple is expected to eventually become TSMC's largest customer. But last month, KGI Securities analyst Michael Liu told his clients that Samsung will be taking the reigns back from TSMC in the second half of 2015, with the production of 14nm chips. TSMC started delivering the A8 chip for the Apple iPhone 6 last quarter. Speculation has the A8 running at 2GHz, the first chip in the series to hit that mark.

As if the back and forth between TSMC and Samsung weren't confusing enough, TSMC CEO Morris Chang said that his company will bounce back in 2016. Since the chips are made to Apple's specs, it shouldn't matter to consumers which foundry the SoC comes from.

source: EconomicDailyNews (translated) via DigiTimes

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27 Comments

1. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Who ever makes em, just make em good. They need to be jedii approved.

2. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

haha... so did they send one to you for testing??

3. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Rumors for the iPhone 7 already? C'mon!!!!!

13. Busyboy unregistered

iPhone 6s you mean?

24. Teejay1100

Posts: 115; Member since: Aug 16, 2012

Exactly 6s!! Apple is terrible. Willfully withholding back on purpose with each S release. Packaging the same phone every other year but just changing some internals. Man, we as people will buy anything because of the brand of a company!! It's a very sad time we live in.

25. SemiFinal

Posts: 117; Member since: Jul 26, 2014

I don't think they hold back as they do upgrade whatever is necessary (processor, camera for example). The S series has also introduced great new features such as Siri and TouchID. The only thing that doesn't change is the design.

26. neela_akaash

Posts: 1239; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

Now i got it why the iPhones always fall behind the current generation specs. They will offer current technology on their 2016 handsets..

6. JMartin22

Posts: 2379; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

Toolbag approved? Words from an ignoramus that doesn't even comprehend the developmental phases and computational test cycles they run these chips under to make sure they're efficient and properly optimized.

8. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

You mad bro?

9. cezarepc

Posts: 718; Member since: Nov 23, 2012

You can tell someone is ignorant from that comment? Wow. Psychic.

10. Donforreal

Posts: 60; Member since: Oct 12, 2012

Ouch, harsh!

12. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Hey is the "22" in your name the size of the stick you have up your a$$? Geez... Calm down. It's NOT that serious. -_- I would be pist too if my Mother were driving me around like in your avatar picture!

17. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Man, they take this stuff so serious SAE. All that wasn't even called for, internet tough guys/face to face cream puffs. +1

21. Vexify

Posts: 570; Member since: Jun 16, 2014

Let him flex his epeen while he has the chance. He probably sits in his mothers basement and rings a bell when he needs something brought to him.

22. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Like Alan in the Hangover movies lol.

19. zinger69

Posts: 86; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Mmmmm....Wafers!

4. Iodine

Posts: 1497; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

With Samsung breathing down its back, TSMC.... What the heck ? Samsung is far behind TSMC in node shrinks that's not breathing on its neck. 28 nm went underway at full blast at TSMC in 2012, samsung begun TRIAL production of 28 nm in beginning of 2013 with exynos octa in just a few galaxy S4's. They runned to mass 28 nm production with A7 in July a year late compared to TSMC. Now samsung released 20nm process with a chip that goes into a single phone that will be anywhere near mass production of flagship phones (they probably don't expect it to sell at all) (exynos will not even go into all alphas) and into few thousands of note 4's. TSMC was going for 20nm since Q2 2014, but it was delayed, probably because Apple jumped in and gulped all the wafers. That means if Apple is using 20nm for A8 the mass production (douzands of millions) of 20nm is underway for quite some time in TSMC, far ahead samsung's limited approach. They caught up, but half a year is still a long time in semiconductor industry. 16 nm is sweet, but Apple is probably investing billions into TSMC for that. So 2x jump for 20 and 16 nm brings us to 4X the A7 performance, that's something like slower quand core laptop Intels.... And GPU will probably evolve even faster than the CPU.

11. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Do a little more reading. Samsung is a process partner in a variety of small node approaches (for different designs). For example: http://phys.org/news/2014-06-samsung-14nm-finfet-technology-ecosystem.html

14. brrunopt

Posts: 742; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

." So 2x jump for 20 and 16 nm brings us to 4X the A7 performance," keep dreaming...

16. Iodine

Posts: 1497; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

.Because only thing that snapdragon did in last two years was increasing clock speed from 1,5 to 2,7 Ghz doesn't mean Apple can't make a 2x jump this year. If someone can do that, it's Apple in first place, they aren't newbies in this space, they are taking this really seriously and investing a lot.

20. brrunopt

Posts: 742; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

Apple made a jump from 32nm to 28nm + move to ARMv8 and 64 bits and wasnt abble to get 2x the performance ; I doubt they will get 2x with change from 28nm to 20nm But my "keep dreming" is more about the second part . those 16nm arent really 16nm ; its still 20nm ; and i really doubt they can get anywhere near 2x performnce with than change..

23. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

Armv8 is the "secret sauce" in the a7, Apple paid off arm to keep others away from it for a year. Since they can't keep up they have to cheat.

5. hung2900

Posts: 966; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

These rumors are simply stupid. A jump in manufacturing process? F*cking hell no way. So for the new 20nm process, TSMC needs a couple of time to recover the innitial cost investing for this one, so no way it can start 16nm production that early.

18. aba71983

Posts: 807; Member since: Jul 24, 2014

Yes, rumors are simply stupid.

15. brrunopt

Posts: 742; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

TSMC 16nm is not really 16nm , its still 20nm but with Finfet implementation (witch will give it the same power efficiency as 16nm planar)

27. janno

Posts: 144; Member since: Aug 19, 2014

It's not just the iPhone. Nvidia will use it, too for its next Denver/Maxwell-based chip (Tegra M1 or whatever).

28. renz4

Posts: 319; Member since: Aug 10, 2013

Denver based K1 most likely will be using the same 28nm node that current 32 bit K1 use. but for next year Erista nvidia most likely to use 20nm

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