News from Apple's chip manufacturer is good for the entire smartphone industry

News from Apple's chip manufacturer is good for the entire smartphone industry
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is the firm that turns chip designs from companies like Apple, Qualcomm, and Huawei into the actual components used inside smartphones. So when TSMC is the subject of good news, it's usually positive for the entire smartphone market. According to industry sources cited by Digitimes, the company is seeing orders pick up for chipsets produced using the most advanced technology currently possible. This is important because these chips are stuffed with more than a billion transistors.

The more transistors in a chip, the more powerful and energy efficient that chip is. The most densely packed chips are currently made using the 7nm process; TSMC says that the production facilities it reserves for these chips will be running at full capacity during the third quarter of this year. TSMC is said to be "aggressively" turning out wafers for Huawei's Hi-Silicon unit that will be used to produce the Kirin chipsets found on Huawei phones. Qualcomm and MediaTek are reportedly keeping track of how busy TSMC is churning out advanced chips. Later this quarter, both firms are expected to request that the company start preparing wafers for the production of their chipsets. And during the third quarter, most of TSMC's 7nm assembly lines will be busy rolling out the A13 SoC for the 2019 Apple iPhones.

The company's utilization rate for its most advanced chips most likely hit its low point for the year last quarter. But an increase in orders for 7nm chips from Android phone manufacturers not only bodes well for TSMC but for the smartphone industry as well. Right now, these chips include the top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform and the Kirin 980. The former is found powering expensive flagship models like the Samsung Galaxy S10, the LG G8 ThinQ, and other new top-shelf models due out over the year. The latter chip is found inside the soon to be launched Huawei P30 and P30 Pro. The fact that TSMC is receiving a bunch of orders for 7nm chips indicates that we could be looking at higher demand for the pricier smartphones in the marketplace.

TSMC is churning out 7nm CPU, GPU, and AI chips


Smartphone demand has been tepid as of late. High penetration rates for smartphones, lack of innovation and high prices are partly to blame. In addition, the upgrade cycle continues to grow longer, and there are economic issues in China and India; those are the top two markets in the world for connected handsets. And while the new foldable phones might give the industry a shot in the arm, that won't happen until the prices of these units come down to earth. The Samsung Galaxy Fold, due out on April 26th, is tagged at $1,980 in the states. Launching later this summer, the Huawei Mate X carries a price tag that is equivalent to $2,600. Both phones will use 7nm chipsets with Samsung's foldable powered by the Snapdragon 855, and Huawei's foldable sporting the Kirin 980 SoC.

Sources at top chip firms who design components for the smartphone industry say that besides rolling out 7nm CPUs, TSMC's advanced production lines are also manufacturing chips for graphics processing and Artifical Intelligence. And in the second half of this year, 7nm chips using extreme ultraviolet light to more precisely layout transistors will start shipping.

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11 Comments

1. darkkjedii

Posts: 31290; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

iPhones now contain great chips, and crappy modems.

16. IT-Engineer

Posts: 566; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

Alan just deleted my post, this so called author doesn't like critics, this was my post, or do. Same bs as always from Alan

24. lyndon420

Posts: 6822; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Agreed. They deleted mine as well for the same reason lol. Definitely can't stand some mild critisism.

3. foreverNOOB

Posts: 167; Member since: Jul 07, 2017

Ehh, Why didn't you just use "News from TSMC is good for the entire smartphone industry" Or just "News from world biggest chip manufacturer is good for the entire smartphone industry"

4. ph00ny

Posts: 2052; Member since: May 26, 2011

you guys are asking questions to an obvious answer

9. shiv179

Posts: 176; Member since: Aug 08, 2012

Dear Alan Once again I question your integrity as a tech journalist. You just had to include Apple in your headline, which is irrelevant. Do you go to bed every night with a smile on your face, after writing such articles? Do you think another company (with standards obviously) will hire you after reading articles like these? Some writers just want to put food on the table I guess, even if it means selling their integrity.

15. bambamboogy02

Posts: 840; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

Selling it would imply it existed in the first place...

19. Vogue1985

Posts: 476; Member since: Jan 24, 2017

At this point in time ,if Apple was very smart tey should be producing their own chips just like Samsung and Huawei. The same goes with telecom tech (which has made Huawei a powerhouse). the whole subscriptions services etc is great,but its not solid and is limitied. Anyways am using an Andriod lol

20. lyndon420

Posts: 6822; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Haha...got moderated for picking holes in the title and pointing out the obvious bias here.

23. lyndon420

Posts: 6822; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

And they're being quite selective too I might add...

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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